What are the changes that artificial intelligence and automation have made in the past few years to the production, distribution, and consumption of news globally? And what are the key trends and issues for the future of journalism and AI?
- AI has the potential to impact the processes and workflows of news organisations, and this is key in permanently changing the future of journalism.
- AI is a technology that has the potential to affect not only content creation and distribution but also have a significant impact on the distribution and revenue side of a news organisation.
- AI has the potential to improve the creative value of journalism in the future, by opening up resources that can help journalists produce more differentiated and impactful content.
Every newsroom, large or small, should have a team thinking about what AI means for their specific strategy, content, audience and business model.
Newsrooms, today more than ever, use data and automated processes to find stories that are relevant to modern audiences. Undoubtedly, there has been a lot of hype around the application of AI in telling those stories. The question that arises is how is the interaction between journalists and algorithms evolving and what are the potential that these new technologies can provide to improve the quality of journalism at large.
AI doesn’t hold all the answers to how to create a better future for journalism. However, it can be a beginning in helping journalism realise its full potential.
The key challenges in adopting AI
According to Anita Zielina, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Newmark J-School, the implementation of AI in newsrooms is a multidimensional and complex process that takes effort, resources and time.
A key challenge that journalism needs to overcome is the shift in what is considered competition. More specifically, news organizations do not just compete with publishers any more, but with platforms as well.
News organizations have a responsibility towards smaller, regional, and less-funded newsrooms that cannot implement AI without industry-wide support.
The rise of a new media ecology
Apart from journalism, AI is transforming every sector within modern-day society. So there is a real social and ethical need to question how AI transforms the ecology of the media landscape as a whole.
AI shapes the future of journalism and the future of public information when that information is distributed algorithmically or produced automatically. Here, Nick Diakopoulos, Professor of Computational Journalism at Northwestern University, invites to set a new framework on how we think about the relationship between news organizations and other media shareholders such as platforms, PR professionals and audiences.
Journalism, as an industry, needs to assess whether it can achieve the goals it has set out in this new ecology.
Exploring the ethical perspectives of AI in journalism
There is a debate around the ethical use of AI in journalism for content personalization. The use of AI in journalism should always consider the principles of news organizations and be sensitive about the deployment of content personalization, especially in a political context.
According to Alexandra Borchardt, Head of Digital Journalism Fellowship at Hamburg Media School, there should be wider interactivity between media practitioners and academic researchers as far as the ethical implications of AI in journalism are concerned.
This article was written by Panayiotis Zaimis, POLIS intern and LSE’s MSc student.
The article includes the main takeaways from one of the sessions of the 2020 JournalismAI Festival. You can watch all the Festival recordings on YouTube.
JournalismAI is a project of POLIS and it’s powered by the Google News Initiative.