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Try Some Basic Claude.ai Exercises
Oct. 17, 2023
I’ve written about my fascination with Claude.ai and how it can be useful for journalists in this newsletter before. Let’s look at three exercises to put it to the test — for better and worse.
Claude, a rival to ChatGPT built by a couple of former Open AI developers, allows you to upload documents and scan/analyze them. It can analyze a document up to 75,000 words and you can upload multiple documents.
First, set up a free account at Claude.ai, then let’s take it for a for a spin …
Exercise 1: Here are some prompt templates to try (fill in the blanks and provide your own):
Summarize this writing and give me four actionable insights I can use as someone who [your profession here … e.g. reports stories about the economy]
Then follow up with this prompt:
Can you give me an explanation of _________ and how it might be relevant to me as a _____________.
Example: Can you give me an explanation of post concussion syndrome and how it might be relevant to me as a medical journalist?
Claude also is good at creating code. Here’s a sample prompt to get you started.
Example: Write the complete code for a login page in Flutter. The design must be responsive and modern.
Example: Write HTML code for a five column by 10 row table
2. PDF analysis in Claude
Download this PDF titled “Analyzing bridges for Claude” in this folder and upload it into Claude: https://bit.ly/3pVp5SN
Then load these three prompts to analyze the data:
Analyze this PDF and tell me which states have the most bridges in fair condition. Put them in descending numerical order. (Note: It may fail at the latter.)
Tell me the five states that have the most bridges in poor condition. Put them in descending numerical order. (Note: It may fail at the latter.)
Tell me the states that have the most bridges in fair and poor condition combined as a percentage based on total bridges in that state. Put them in descending numerical order. (Note: It may fail at the latter.)
I won’t give you the correct answers, but you can use Excel or Google Sheets formulas to analyze the data and fact-check the AI analysis of it. I’ve had mixed results: Many times the data is accurate but the rankings aren’t in the order requested.
Sometimes the percentage calculations are a few percentage points off. Be very, very careful with using Generative AI for data analysis right now, although we expect it to improve in the future.
Exercise 3: Prompt for an AP Style Check in Claude, Bard or ChatGPT
Claude and ChatGPT should be able to do it. Bard will likely struggle. Cut and paste the sample text – with AP Style errors – below into each and see which one fares the best:
Edit this text for Associated Press Style and spelling
Five Cook County employees defrauded the federal COVID-19 relief program of more than two-hundred and forty thousand dollars, falsely claiming they owned companies that struggled during the pandemic, the county inspector general’s office said in a report Friday.
Over the past year, twenty other county workers also were suspected of defrauding the federal Paycheck Protection Program, accoring to interum Inspector General Steven Cyranoski. They include three high-ranking county officials, including one in the county’s human resources office, a payroll supervisor in the comptroller’s office & a director in the health department, according to Cyranoski.
In five quarterly reports since July 2022, Cyranoski said he & his investigators found county workers were suspected of stealing more than seven hundred thousand dollars in PPP money.
Note: A warning when you log-in to Claude.ai. Be careful with it.
Bad Data Viz/Good Data Viz
I love the Viz.wtf site, a graveyard for bad online and TV visualizations.
I share it with my UIC data journalism students every fall on the first day of class, which happens to be TODAY. I think there’s a lot to learn from bad visualizations. TedEd talks about how to spot misleading graphics in this video.
Want More Training?
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‘The Journalist’s Toolbox’ |‘Data + Journalism’ Textbooks
The Journalist’s Toolbox
My new textbook, “The Journalist’s Toolbox: A Guide to Digital Reporting and AI” will be out on Routledge at the end of December. (Order here). It’s a perfect newsroom resource guide and great text for college courses. It has dozens of tools, hands-on exercises and training videos to supplement the book. It’s available as a new “E-Book Plus” that has videos and pop-ups that play right in the book.
Data + Journalism
Samantha Sunne and I co-authored a textbook, “Data + Journalism” that’s available now on Routledge. (Order here). It’s an introductory to intermediate-level guide to learning data storytelling from A to Z. It features examples, interviews, links to tools and dozens of practical exercises to learn how to find, scrape, clean, visualize and write with data. We also explore ethics, transparency and basic math skills. We even offer a bonus chapter — Chapter 13 — on diversity and inclusion for free on our blog.
In Quotes …
“Forget artificial intelligence – in the brave new world of big data, it’s artificial idiocy we should be looking out for.” —Tom Chatfield
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