Moonshine’s First AI Policy Takes Aim at Staying Human


A few months ago, we were stunned when we received a story written by a contributor who admitted to using ChatGPT. This prompted a lengthy discussion among the team about the pros and cons of artificial intelligence, and if there is a place for it in journalism. In short, our answer was no. While we know that AI is here to stay, and definitely benefits certain industries, like science, we do not feel it belongs in the hallowed halls of journalism. This led us to create Moonshine Ink’s first official AI policy:

We at Moonshine Ink believe in the power of original reporting, original writing, and original content. Our mission is to provide confirmed, fact-checked, and vetted information and analysis of the most vital news and community topics in the region. We are a community newspaper that reflects the voice of the community. As such, we do not support the use of artificial intelligence in writing articles of any kind or opinion pieces. Most AI works by scraping the internet for information that already exists. Thus, it cannot create wholly original stories or report facts that do not yet live on the World Wide Web. Because not everything that’s on the internet is true, AI can also create stories that have false information in them. This is antithetical to journalism, whose goal is to root out the truth, and depends on reporters digging up factual information, sometimes from unwilling organizations, government agencies, or businesses that do not want the facts to come to light.

HANDMADE: Since 2022, memes like this one have popped up across the web, parodying the inability of artificial intelligence image generators to create realistic human hands. Why would we put important work such as journalism in the hands of AI? Screenshot

Photos and artwork also need to be original. We will not accept any imagery created by AI.


As a watchdog of local government and others, it is imperative that Moonshine Ink reporters and contributors do their own research, reporting, and writing. We do understand that AI can be a useful tool in brainstorming ideas, organizing a story, language generation, and writing excerpts or headlines, similar to other tools already in use like spell check, thesaurus, and transcription services. Yet the bulk of our work will be original. If we suspect stories are written with the help of AI, we will run articles through an AI detector and will not accept any article or opinion piece that has more than 20% of it written by AI.

One of the greatest aspects of humans is our power to create something out of nothing. You are a human. Be human. Use your brain, that miracle of an organ that allows us to think and breathe and walk and talk all at the same time, and so much more. Write using your own brainpower. Take your own photos. Make your own art. Be creative. Be you.

As the artist Henri Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage.”

Be courageous. It might just be the one thing that separates us from machines one day in the near future.


  • Melissa Siig

    Melissa Siig ditched international politics in Washington, D.C. in 2001 to move to Tahoe, where she quickly found her true calling — journalism. She has written for regional and national publications, and enjoys writing about community issues and quirky human interest stories. When not at her keyboard, she is busy wrangling her three children, co-running Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema, or playing outside.

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