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How publishers can get the best of AI: Research findings

5 publications on AI and journalism publishers need to check out

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to transform the media landscape. Even though it has become an integral part of contemporary journalism, publishers still are not able to make the best of it. At the same time, the application of AI technologies in journalism raises a number of questions. What are the main implications of AI technologies in journalism? Which challenges does AI present for the broader realm of communication, media, and society? Is the use of AI in journalism compatible with democratic principles of freedom of expression and freedom of information?

The Fix came up with five recent publications and reports that attempt to answer these very controversial questions.  

1. New powers, new responsibilities: A global survey of journalism and artificial intelligence (Charlie Beckett)

The JournalismAI large-N study by Charlie Beckett analyzes the surveys 71 news organizations in 32 different countries regarding the AI implications for news media. Overall, 116 journalists contributed to the survey.  

It is noteworthy that according to the survey the majority of respondents find AI technologies useful and beneficial if newsrooms keep their ethical and editorial stance. The report has the potential to make media managers rethink their editorial strategies, and find their own niche when it comes to using AI technologies. 

Year of publishing: 2019 

Where to get:

2. Automating the News: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Media (Nicholas Diakopoulos)

“In responsible hands and with carefully embedded prosocial values that reflect the public interest, automation and algorithms can be a powerful force for enhancing the efficiency, sustainability, and quality of news media, ” Nicholas Diakopoulos argues in his book entitled “Automated the News: How algorithms are rewriting the media”. The book touches upon almost all domains of journalism and AI intersection and argues for the more intensive deployment of AI technologies in news media. It also sheds light on how AI can add value to journalistic pieces.

Year of Publishing: 2019 

Where to get: Harvard University Press

3. Tech Giants, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of Journalism (Jason Whittaker)

The book studies the impact the “Big Five” companies – Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft – have had on the work of media organizations worldwide. It further delves into the increasingly important role of automation in news media and the role of algorithms in the post-truth age. One of the main focuses of the research is the media’s zombie problem and the ways to tackle it. The author demonstrates how Artificial Intelligence can help human intelligence explain the world in the digital age. 

Year of publishing: 2019

Where to get: Routledge

4. Artificial Intelligence in Newsrooms – Is journalism computable? (Original title: Künstliche Intelligenz in Redaktionen – Ist Journalismus Berechenbar?)

Will we still need journalists in the future or will artificial intelligence be sufficient? That is the central question asked in the report prepared by the Debate Monitor, the Media Authority of NRW. The report furthermore explains in which editorial areas AI is most frequently used. Apart from that, whether the use of AI in media and democratic principles, such as freedom of expression and freedom of information can be compatible, is another focus of the report.

Year of publishing: 2021

Where to find:

5. Artificial Intelligence and Journalism (Broussard, et al.)

In the report published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, it is argued that AI will inevitably have ‘major repercussions’ on all domains of public life. They suggest that journalists should act proactively in the development of AI technologies. 

The report also suggests which type of newsrooms need to actively use AI technologies and which do not have such needs. The authors also elaborate on the difficulties of building AI systems and ways to solve this problem. 

Year of publishing: 2019 

Where to find: SAGE Publications

Bonus:  The application of artificial intelligence to journalism: an analysis of academic production

Artificial intelligence has become the subject of academic research and debate in recent years.  If you are curious about the state of scholarship on AI and journalism interrelation, we recommend checking out recent research by Sonia Parratt-Fernández et al. that dives into the dynamics of research developments regarding AI and journalism. The report also examines the research methods applied in AI and journalism research and points out the gaps that the scholarship has yet to fill.

Year of publishing: 2021 

Where to get: Profesional de la información 

Teona Sekhniashvili

This piece was originally published in The Fix and is re-published with permission. The Fix is a solutions-oriented publication focusing on the European media scene. Subscribe to its weekly newsletter here.