New York Magazine Union Is ‘Extremely’ Concerned Over Lack of Transparency in Vox Media’s OpenAI Deal

“The sudden nature of this announcement, and the lack of information and transparency around what it entails, is extremely concerning,” the guild writes of its parent company

Vox Media logo
Vox Media logo

The union that represents Vox Media staffers demanded “transparency” Friday in response to the company’s new partnership with OpenAI, which the guild calls “extremely concerning.” 

On Wednesday, the publisher announced a multi-year licensing and product development deal that allows OpenAI access to content archives and current reporting for use in response to ChatGPT user queries, with citations to Vox Media. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In its statement, the New York Magazine Union said, “The sudden nature of this announcement, and the lack of information and transparency around what it entails, is extremely concerning.”

In bargaining with management for a new contract, which started in March, the union presented the organization with “reasonable standards” to allow the cautious use of AI technology, “while also ensuring that the editorial integrity of the work we do is protected.”

According to the union, Vox Media management refused to respond to the AI proposals for more than two months before the partnership was announced without any prior warning. For Guild members, Wednesday was the first they “even heard that such an arrangement was under consideration.”

“We are frustrated that Vox Media made this deal while actively avoiding any engagement with our proposals on AI at the bargaining table,” the union wrote on Friday. “We will demand details about this agreement as our contract negotiations move forward and we continue to ensure that we are building a sustainable future for our company and our industry.”

The New York Magazine Union statement comes just one day after The Atlantic Union made a similar move, expressing concern with a similar OpenAI deal and demanding the terms be made accessible for staffers. 

The dealmaking pace between news publishers and AI firms has picked up in recent weeks, with The Atlantic and Vox Media joining the likes of  News Corp, The AP, DotDash Meredith, Axel Springer and more in licensing content to OpenAI. 

On the other side, The New York Times launched a blockbuster lawsuit against both Microsoft and OpenAI in December, accusing the tech giants of copyright infringement. Other media organizations have followed suit, launching their own lawsuits against the AI tech giants, including eight Alden Global Capital-owned newsrooms and digital outlets Raw Story, Alternet and The Intercept.

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