Five Highly Effective AI Prompts to Make Your News Stories Shine

Let’s be frank. If you’re a journalist, there’s something immensely compelling, but also completely mortifying, about tools like ChatGPT.

Below, we provide you with five highly polished prompts to use in your next piece, carefully designed to avoid any potential pitfalls. You’ll love using these in your next story.

Below, we provide you with five highly polished prompts to use in your next piece, carefully designed to avoid any potential pitfalls. You’ll love using these in your next story.

Prompt #1: Compare and Contrast

Description: Add more insight to your story by comparing current events to other parallel events. You can juxtapose the fed chair's latest speech with last year's speech on the same topic, or contrast one company's milestone with that of a rival.

Our prompt provides a good initial comparison, meant to inspire a paragraph or two in your article. Grab the full prompt here.

A Real-World Example: Let’s use this prompt to contrast Rishi Sunak’s first speech as British Prime Minister with that of the previous PM, Liz Truss.

Upon analyzing the two speeches, the key differences identified are as follows:

1. Tone and Approach: Truss' speech is optimistic and action-oriented, focusing on aspirations and challenges; Sunak's emphasizes economic stability and acknowledges past mistakes.

2. Prioritization of Issues: Truss prioritizes growth through tax cuts and infrastructural reforms; Sunak focuses on economic stability, acknowledging the need for difficult decisions.

3. Acknowledgment of Predecessors: Both pay tribute to their predecessors but with a different focus; Truss praises Boris Johnson's achievements, while Sunak respectfully points out Truss's mistakes.

4. Addressing the Energy Crisis: Truss promises immediate action on energy bills and supply; Sunak's speech, while comprehensive, doesn't specify immediate steps for the energy crisis.

5. Engagement with Challenges: Truss conveys a can-do attitude towards overcoming challenges; Sunak emphasizes the need for unity and trust, indicating a more cautious approach to governance.

Prompt #2: Sources Shape Stories

Description: Words on paper (or on a screen) can tell compelling factual stories. However, they can just as easily present fiction as fact. Good journalism employs good diverse sources, when they are available, and acknowledges the lack of good sources, when they are not.

AI can help you ensure the accuracy of your reporting by identifying problematic sources or missing attributions. Access the full prompt here.

A Real-World Example: Let’s dissect the New York Times’ now-controversial article from 2003 about Iraq’s alleged WMDs. A solid critique if we’re honest.

Claim: Iraq destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment only days before the war began, according to an Iraqi scientist.
Offense(s): Relies on a single anonymous source

Claim: The scientist told American weapons experts that Iraq had secretly sent unconventional weapons and technology to Syria, starting in the mid-1990's, and that more recently Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda.
Offense(s): Uses a single source for a controversial claim

Claim: The officials said the scientist showed them documents, samples, and other evidence.
Offense(s): Refers to evidence without clear description

Claim: The potential of MET Alpha's work is "enormous," says a military commander.
Offense(s): Relies on a single anonymous source; ignores bias/conflicts of interest

Claim: What they've discovered could prove to be of incalculable value, though much work must still be done to validate the information MET Alpha has uncovered.
Offense(s): Fails to properly attribute sources

Prompt #3: A Personal George Orwell

Description: George Orwell was a talented journalist who penned two of the most iconic literary works of the 20th century. He also happened to write Politics and the English Language, a brilliant essay on prioritizing essence over style in writing.

Description: George Orwell was a talented journalist who penned two of the most iconic literary works of the 20th century. He also happened to write Politics and the English Language, a brilliant essay on prioritizing essence over style in writing.

With the help of AI, you can get a highly personalized and private revision from the man himself. Or, rather, a digital representation of him. Grab the full prompt here.

A Real-World Example: We ran this prompt against The Guardian’s 1969 article reporting on the first moon landing. You have to love the directness.

Original: Armstrong, the lunar module commander, opened the hatch and clambered slowly down to the surface of the moon.
Alternative: Armstrong opened the hatch and stepped onto the moon.

Original: It was the fulfillment of a dream which men have shared since the beginning of recorded history.
Alternative: It achieved a dream people have had forever.

Original: It was a moment of extraordinary tension and silence.
Alternative: It was a tense and silent moment.

Original: They said they had no difficulty in adapting to the moon's gravity.
Alternative: They easily adapted to the moon's gravity.

Original: The conversation from the moon's surface came through loud and clear.
Alternative: They could clearly hear the conversation from the moon.

Prompt #4:  Unconventional Perspectives

Description: One of the challenges of Internet-age journalism is that many outlets report the same events. To remain distinctive in such an environment, journalists must seek unique perspectives for each story.

Our prompt consumes a set of headlines and proposes compelling new story angles for you to consider. You can find the prompt here.

A Real-World Example: We sourced headlines from this Google News page on a recent development regarding Japan's moon lander. After inserting the headlines into our prompt, the AI created this analysis. Super helpful!

Angles Represented by the Headlines:
1. Survival against harsh lunar conditions
2. Unexpected awakening and signal response
3. Technological triumph and resilience
4. Human interest in space exploration achievements
5. Comparison to other lunar missions

Possible Angles Not Represented:
1. Impact on future lunar missions
2. Technical specifics of survival mechanisms
3. Interviews with the engineering team
4. Broader implications for space policy
5. Environmental considerations of lunar exploration

Prompt #5: Clean Up Your Interviews

Description: We've all been there. You interview someone and for every meaningful word, you also get a filler word like "um" or "you know." You then transcribe the interview using one of the handy automatic transcription tools, only to discover that the text is almost unreadable.

The good news is that AI can quickly clean up the transcription. Get the prompt here.

A Real-World Example: We’ll use our prompt to edit the transcript below. We apologize in advance that you have to read this.

Paul: “You know, it’s kinda hard for me to just... to answer this, I guess. I mean, I really wanted to believe, you know? Wanted to believe she was, like, the one for me. But, uh, turns out, she was... she was just the exact opposite. It’s just, ah, kinda funny, isn't it? How things turn out, I mean.”

The prompt outputs the following passage. It’s so much better.

Paul: "It’s kinda hard for me to just... to answer this. I really wanted to believe. Wanted to believe she was the one for me. But, turns out, she was just the exact opposite. It’s kinda funny, isn't it? How things turn out.”

We hope you found this guide useful.


Have any questions about how to use these prompts?
Have you found ways to further improve these prompts?
Have other prompts to suggest for our next guide? (we’ll credit you, of course)

Please write to us at hello@scroll.ai