Few would disagree that AI systems and applications need to be “responsible,” but what is “responsible” and how to answer that question? Answering that question requires a normative perspective on the role of journalistic AI and the values it shall serve. Such a perspective needs to be grounded in a broader normative framework and a thorough understanding of the dynamics and complexities of journalistic AI at the level of people, newsrooms and media markets. This special issue aims to develop such a normative perspective on the use of AI-driven tools in journalism and the role of digital journalism studies in advancing that perspective. The contributions in this special issue combine conceptual, organisational and empirical angles to study the challenges involved in actively using AI to promote editorial values, the powers at play, the role of economic and regulatory conditions, and ways of bridging academic ideals and the messy reality of the real world. This editorial brings the different contributions into conversation, situates them in the broader digital journalism studies scholarship and identifies seven key-take aways.