The profiles (beat-sweeteners?) of Sam Altman

Oddly (not oddly at all?) both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal had profiles of  Sam Altman at the end of March:

  1. Sam Altman, the ChatGPT King, Is Pretty Sure It’s All Going to Be OK – The New York Times
  2. The Contradictions of Sam Altman, the AI Crusader Behind ChatGPT – WSJ

Given the contentious nature of AI and ChatGPT, you might think think that those pieces would have asked tough questions of Altman concerning AI. Especially since Leslie Stahl did something similar to execs of Microsoft, a few weeks earlier. Perhaps the work of Stahl is why Microsoft / OpenAI wanted Altman to get out there with his story. If that was the intent, then it seemed to work. Nothing too tough in either of these profiles.

Then again, perhaps they were written as beat-sweeteners. After all, getting access is just as important for tech journalists as it is for political journalists. If you want to write more about AI in the future, being able to ring up Altman and his gang and get through to them for a comment seems like something you might want for your job. No doubt profiles like that can help with that access.

For more on the topic of beat-sweeteners, I give you this: Slate’s Beat-Sweetener Reader in Columbia Journalism Review.





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