We have technological tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) across all major industries today. We have been trying to learn ways to work with technology, so that we can have quality results. the newsrooms certainly have also had the time to develop and find ways to interact with technology for maximum results. In journalism, technology is super-efficient and helps in more ways than one.
What we need to understand is that this evolution in technology is a result of the change in content consumption. The way we look at news has changed. The expectations, the interface, and even the mode of consumption have gone through several shifts. Therefore it is crucial that newsrooms embrace this change to proactively engage with their consumers.
Newsrooms use AI primarily in three areas - news creation, production and distribution. According to the global survey “” researchers found that only 37% of newsrooms had an active AI strategy. This shows that while newsrooms are interested in the output brought up by AI, they aren’t actively making use of AI, not to it’s complete potential.
Big league news media organizations like AP, Washington post and Reuters have been making very good use of automated content creation tools. Tools like these can be used for stories that run primarily on number data and help detect trends that help give content ideas to the editorial team. This works especially well for analytical stories, popularly, sports or business news.
How does AI help with subscriptions? While publishers can use tools that provide information about trending and engaging stories on the web, tools like Bertie can be made use of to provide reporters a draft or story template. The MittMedia, a swedish paper, stated that they got over 1000 digital subscribers through such automated content. The automated system helped them publish over.
AI can be used to keep track of subscribers and frequent users of a website who can then be targeted for conversion. Once the information is gathered, building strategies and packages that are user-specific to increase subscriptions would be foolproof.
AI and machine learning will also keep track of genuine users and help publishers manage that activity without being in the dark about the engagement their website is getting. This can be helpful for regulating user behavior and for studying it.
AI can be used to manage auto-posting your content. Schedule completed articles on the go without having to keep tabs. Technology now allows publishers to have all their social media accounts linked for easy management and push stories as well as notification across all platforms. The publishers have complete control over the messages, the alerts and if anything, personalization has only been accentuated.
Curation on a person's interest - newsrooms operate in ways that ensure that their target audience is content. AI and machine learning can be made use of to achieve maximum readership by pushing the right content to the right user by studying the search and retention behavior.
AI can also be used to keep track of audience feedback. User generated content isn’t uncommon for websites and it can be tough to regulate it without help. UGC tends to be a problem for large, user-driven sites. Publishers can now pre-moderate spam-like comments.
Whenever we talk of AI,people have this painted picture of robots taking over the humans, a classic scene from the movies. We have the fear that if we get comfortable with AI perhaps it’ll take out the human element out of our content. While publishers can get numbers and figures for stories, the analysis needs to be done by journalists. This is why journalists will never be out of relevance. Opinion pages or editorials carry the essence of the papers. These stories can never be done through bots. Stories that require creativity, intuition and critical thinking can only be carried out by quality journalists. AI can help with verification of facts, get relevant data and get better visibility but that’s about it.
Using AI tools to verify statistics and report claims is a quick way to find out fake news. This helps ensure that there is no miscommunication on the website. You can even run a separate section for fact checking with the right AI tools wherein users can verify the data they receive. This helps publishers stay relevant and establish themselves as an authentic news source, provided, AI is used progressively.
We have to understand that technology backing up journalism will only enhance the efforts taken by journalists. It’s time we make use of AI for tasks that only slow down content creators. Using technology to create data and do menial tasks will not only help save time but also manage resources well.
As we progress as an industry, it’s important to invest in tools that help us in return. Sometimes taking the risk is worth it and the fear of trying something new can be what’s weighing you down. As content consumption evolves, it’s time content creators do as well.