What’s to come for journalism and artificial intelligence? GNI and Polis report
- Financial resources (27%)
- Knowledge and skills (24%)
- Cultural resistance: reluctance to change work habits and fear of losing job (24%)
- Lack of strategic managerial insight (17%)
What’s currently happening?
“One of the key aspects of AI and journalism is that it allows the whole journalism model to become more holistic, with a feedback loop between the different parts of the production and dissemination process” — Charlie Beckett, founding director, PolisThe report identified three main areas where newsrooms are using AI:
- News gathering
- News production
- News distribution
“AI is used for routine, commodity journalism but it can also be combined with human journalists to tailor mass data sets to specific audiences.” — Charlie Beckett, Founding Director, PolisMany news publishers are already using AI systems alongside journalists to produce general data stories. One of the most recent is The Guardian’s ReporterMate, an open source automated system that, when given a data set and a story template, creates formulaic news stories – like this one about Australian political donations. Using an AI software that can generate data stories can enable journalists to spend time on more deep and meaningful reporting.
Access and strategize
“AI is innately networked. It requires a skill set, knowledge base, defined roles, systematic appraisal, and a culture that relates the technologies to editorial or marketing.” — Charlie Beckett, Founding Director, Polis
The question of ethics
“The majority of respondents had confidence that overall, the impact would be beneficial if news organisations retained their ethical and editorial stance.” — Charlie Beckett, Founding Director, PolisAlthough there is huge transformational potential when it comes to AI, there’s also wide discussion around its ethical issues. It’s therefore important for news organizations to consider ethical factors when using AI technology in order to keep journalist accountability and integrity intact.
“I am more excited than concerned regarding the impact of AI. As opposed to the current negative sentiment towards AI, these technologies will augment the newsrooms and save valuable resources to be directed toward serious issues that require the attention of journalists.” — Anonymous, The Journalism AI reportHowever, debates surrounding the maintenance of journalistic codes of ethics are still necessary. The context in which AI is being utilized must influence the modes in which artificial intelligence tools are utilized. With dwindling public trust and confidence in the media, it’s important that publications do not dent an already tarnished reputation. Six key areas were identified through discussions with the participants on their current thinking about AI, ethics and journalism:
- Economics: savings or investment?
- Algorithmic bias
- Misinformation and ‘filter bubbles’
- Enhancement of editorial decisions and transparency
- Balancing artificial and human intelligence
- The role of the technology companies
What’s the future for AI and journalism?
“The future development of AI in general is not a smooth upward curving graph. There are still fundamental debates within the AI world about the best pathways forward.” — Charlie Beckett, Founding Director, PolisAs AI continues to permeate through different areas of the newsroom, respondents from the survey mentioned that the challenges they anticipate in the future focused on training, education, and literacy in the newsroom (46%) and the need for recruiting people with new skills (43%). As it’s still in early stages of integration, newsrooms will keep benefitting from a tried and tested approach to AI aiming to run more efficiently and sustainably with ethics at its core. Sign up to Reuters Community, for exclusive insights that keep you innovating.