New York Times executive editor Joe Kahn sent out the following announcement on Tuesday:
How should The Times’s journalism benefit from generative A.I. technologies? Can these new tools help us work faster? Where should we draw the red lines around where we won’t use it?
These are important questions, and we’re thrilled to announce that Zach Seward, an accomplished and creative journalistic leader, will be taking them head-on as our first editorial director of Artificial Intelligence Initiatives.
Zach comes to The Times with an unusual — perhaps unique — combination of skills and experiences in digital media. He was a founding editor of Quartz, a “business news site built for the digital age,” as The Times called it, where he was the rare journalist to also serve as chief product officer, then C.E.O., and finally editor in chief.
At The Times, Zach will build on the work that a number of teams from around the building have begun over the past six months during various A.I. explorations. One of Zach’s first responsibilities will be to work with newsroom leadership to establish principles for how we do and do not use generative A.I. One reason we’re excited to have Zach in this role is that he shares our firm belief that Times journalism will always be reported, written and edited by our expert journalists. But Zach will also help guide how these new tools can assist our journalists in their work, and help us broaden our reach and expand our report.
Zach will build a small team in the newsroom to experiment with generative A.I. tools and prototype ideas. He will help design training programs for curious journalists and will partner with colleagues across the company to determine where to incorporate generative A.I. tools into our publishing tools and digital products. He will track the industry’s quickly shifting landscape to help ensure that The Times keeps pace as the internet evolves along with users’ habits and reader expectations.
He’ll be bringing his deep experience in newsrooms to that work. Before Quartz, Zach worked as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, where he also built and led its first social media team. He has also been an associate editor of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, where he helped launch the site and reported on the digital media industry.
Zach will report to Sam, and will have a dotted line to Matt Ericson. He will work closely with departments spanning the newsroom and Opinion, as well as with Alex Hardiman and the product development organization, among other departments across the company.
Please congratulate and welcome Zach. He begins Monday.