New Report: How is AI being used by news organisations?

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Written By Abha Malpani Naismith

Communications strategy. Digital specialist. Brand journalist. Writer. AI enthusiast.

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A new report by the JournalismAI’s initiative at the London School of Economics and the Google News Initiative on how AI is being used in media outlets is just out.

105 news and media organisations from 46 different countries were surveyed regarding their use of AI and associated technologies.

Whether you are optimistic or appalled by what Generative AI can do, this report emphasises the importance of learning about and engaging with this technology as it has the potential to revolutionise the world that is reported on.

As someone in between the world’s of public relations and journalism, here are the key findings from teh report that stood out for me:

  • More than 75% of respondents use AI in at least one of the areas across the news value chain of news gathering, production and distribution
  • Increasing efficiency and productivity to free up journalists for more creative work were the main drivers for AI integration for more than half the respondents
  • Around a 1/3 of the respondents said they had an institutional AI strategy or were currently developing one
  • Respondents called for transparency from the developers of AI systems and technology companies, and the newsrooms, with their audiences
  • Journalists and mediamakers continued to stress the need for a ‘human in the loop’ at all times
  • The main fears were that AI technologies would further commercialise journalism, resulting in poor quality and polarising content, leading to a further decline in public’s trust in journalism.

Here are the ways journalists and newsrooms are using AI in their daily work:

News gathering:

  1. Using AI tools to automate transcription, extract text from images, and structure data after gathering
  2. Using AI applications to sift through large amounts of data and detect patterns and trends

News production:

  1. Around 90% said they used AI technologies in news distribution for fact-checking and proofreading, and writing summaries and code
  2. For creating news summaries, headlines, visual storytelling, customising newsletters and in evaluating different data sources
  3. Creating code for games and quizzes that readers play in the publication
  4. Spell checking tools are employed for editing, proofreading, and improving the quality of written content
  5. Generate infographics for social media

News distribution:

  • AI enables personalisation and customisation of distribution
  • AI enables use of chatbots (via WhatsApp for example) to share news and for faster response rates

The most frequently mentioned tools in the survey were:

  • Google Discover app for seeing which stories and keywords are trending
  • Dataminr and Rapidminer to identify trending topics, detect news of interest, and gather data from various sources to uncover stories
  • Echobox and Socialflow are used to optimise social media content scheduling
  • Grammarly for editing, proofreading, and improving the quality of written content
  • CrowdTangle for searching various social media posts for ‘viral’ or talked about posts, and evaluating the performance of social posts
  • Uber Suggest to find highly searched keywords
  • Voicebots to convert stories from, text to audio format

Full report can be downloaded here.

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