Collaboration: “The action of working with someone to produce something.”
Experiment: “A procedure undertaken to make a discovery, test a hypothesis, or demonstrate a known fact.”
News organisations want to work together to discover, test, and demonstrate the potential offered by AI technologies. That is the clear message we received after we launched the idea of a collaborative experiment to prototype AI-powered journalistic solutions.
As we all adapt to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the way we live and work, journalists see international collaboration as an opportunity despite, or even because of, the increasing constraints on innovation. People in a variety of news organisations around the world, from local to international brands, told us that in many cases long-term innovation had to take a backseat to more urgent tasks.
An international collaboration could help fill that gap and add a boost to creativity. We hope it will and we are happy to announce that over the next six months we will test just that, with a group of news organisations that agreed to join the JournalismAI Collab:
- AFP, France
- Archant, UK
- Axel Springer, Germany
- Bayerischer Rundfunk, Germany
- Deutsche Welle, Germany
- The Guardian, UK
- Jagran New Media, India
- Mediafin, Belgium
- La Nación, Argentina
- Nice-Matin, France
- Reach plc, UK
- La Repubblica, Italy
- Reuters, global
- RTVE, Spain
- Schibsted, Nordics
- South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
- Der Spiegel, Germany
- VRT News, Belgium
- Yle News Lab, Finland
This is what they have to say about the Collab:
❝ This project is a unique opportunity to share ideas, experiments and best practices and create a shared model for AI-driven innovation in journalism and the media business. ❞
Andrea Iannuzzi, Senior Managing Editor, La Repubblica (Italy)
❝ A global team effort across newsrooms offers the opportunity to speed up the process of adopting AI and embracing its potential as well as facing its challenges. ❞
Florencia Coelho, New Media Research Manager, La Nación (Argentina)
❝ The Collab is a unique opportunity for journalists across the world to come together and figure out how can we bring together journalistic work, AI and new user interfaces in the most effective and sustainable way. ❞
Jarno Koponen, Head of AI & personalisation, Yle News Lab (Finland)
First step in solving any challenge… is finding out what the challenge is
When we asked our network to share challenges they are facing in their news organisations, we heard of many challenges that might lend themselves to an AI-based solution. But beyond the challenges we also received many questions. People were intrigued by the idea of an international collaboration but wanted to know more on how it would work and how they could be involved.
So we started a (virtual) listening tour with more than 30 one-on-one calls and 5 incredibly insightful meetings (still virtual) with groups of interested people. Every step of the way, our plans evolved and were enriched by what we learned from each conversation.
Clear trends emerged among the many challenges we were hearing about. In line with the findings of last year’s report, news organisations are hopeful that AI solutions might help improve and increase capacity in two key directions:
- Empowering journalists with new tools to make their work more efficient and improving the overall quality of the content produced.
- Developing smart and effective ways to help audiences cope with news overload and presenting them with content that is relevant, useful and stimulating for their lives.
This translates to a wide range of challenges, ranging from optimising the recommendation of related content to supporting editorial teams with smart news gathering tools and conceiving new ways to make our journalism more diverse and mitigate biases.
Over the next days, participants of the Collab will gather in teams around some of those challenges and together we will start a 6-month journey to discover, test and demonstrate the potential of AI and machine learning to design innovative journalistic solutions.
This is an open process and when the final challenges are defined, we will tap into the amazing expertise represented in our network by technologists, researchers and entrepreneurs who might want to contribute.
Learnings from the Collab will be shared with our growing Network throughout the year, leading up to a public showcase in November – virtual or in-person, we shall see.
It’s an experiment. We don’t know where it will lead us. But the time to get creative and imagine newsrooms where journalists and AI work together to better meet our audiences’ needs is now.
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JournalismAI is a project of Polis, supported by the Google News Initiative.