You must be wondering – how can Artificial Intelligence (AI) contribute to journalism? Isn’t journalism supposed to be about reporting, writing and explaining the nuances of situations based on facts?
You’re right! But that doesn’t mean that AI can’t be used to streamline the process. AI machines can be utilised to detect, extract and verify data, along with producing stories, graphics, publishing pieces and automatically tagging articles.
These processes allow for the speed that journalism requires in getting a story published. It also gives way to the expansion of media coverage to areas previously not covered. AI has the ability to revolutionise journalism and enhance its reach worldwide, increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
However, it must be made clear that AI is unlikely to replace journalists or eliminate jobs. It is estimated that AI will only take over 8 – 12% of journalists’ work. This would actually free up time for reporters, writers and editors to concentrate their efforts on more pressing tasks that can’t be completed with AI. For example, they can focus on investigative pieces, exclusive interviews, analyst articles and opinion pieces.
AI serves to only expedite and complement the work of journalists. It does not have the capabilities to render the profession obsolete. Articles and stories curated by AI machinery will lack the depth and emotion that a journalist reporting on the ground could provide. Whilst the statistics and figures may be accurate, it is the angle and emotion of a piece that draws in its readers.
Media outlets have already begun incorporating AI within their frameworks. For example, AI is used to generate recommendations for readers according to articles they had previously clicked on.
The current trend towards AI journalism will require newsrooms and its journalists to familiarise themselves with the workings of AI machinery. This would be valuable knowledge for any aspiring journalist to possess. Without it, there would be difficulties in adapting to these technological advancements in their field of work.
Despite this current trend, Ai journalism is not without its drawbacks. The first of these being the high costs of incorporating AI machinery and development. It is common knowledge that AI utilisation is not cheap and this results in its uneven usage across media outlets. Larger companies with more revenue are better able to afford AI as compared to smaller newsrooms with less revenue.
Smaller companies will lose out and may be unable to compete with the bigger companies that utilise AI. This uneven playing field could lead to monopolisation and bias news reporting.
But how could it be bias when it’s a robot that’s developing these stories? Its algorithms are designed by humans and there is always the risk of biases that could alter data analysis and lead to inaccurate news reporting.
As such, human verification is vital for any report produced by AI machinery. Despite these drawbacks, AI brings a lot to the table when it comes to journalism, hence it’s increased usage in media outlets all over the world.
If you are considering a career in journalism, AI might be an aspect of your job in the age of new media. However, as mentioned, it will be an aspect that complements and simplifies your tasks, giving you more time to focus on the more exciting parts of journalism.
Check out a foundation programme in media and communications to see if this new age journalism is the right fit for you and your interests!