AI In The Newsroom – Is It The Future?

If you are a writer or an editor you probably have pretty good editing skills. The problem is that editing can be a time-consuming process. Of course, as with just about any problems we have in society electronic solutions have sprung up. The issue lies in the fact that professionals aren’t always willing to put faith in those tools.

Can machines replace humans when creative works are involved?

Given how society is at the moment there is a certain feeling of impending doom. So the idea of AI taking over human tasks is one that isn’t going to resonate with a lot of people. Perhaps we have seen too many sci-fi films but the idea of a bunch of robots permeating the newsroom is almost too much for some people to deal with. However, perhaps there is a place for them. What do machines bring to the table in that environment? Well, they are quick for starters and efficient. Both skills are a big boon in the editing process. Whereas us humans bring our creativity to the table. It seems like a match made in heaven.

How can humans and machines work in tandem?

The automation process frees up the editor to focus on the flow of stories. It allows them to make sure that the actual content itself is better, that it relates more to audiences. So how can publishers start working with automated systems right away?

Extending content

We live in a world where content is digested faster than a double cheeseburger in my flat. As soon as consumers read an article they want more. Readers are so used to being a single click away from more information, thanks in part to social media.

This doesn’t mean that the quality of content isn’t important. While a pithy title may bring people to the dance, People still want to be entertained. But once they are engrossed they will want more. This is a prime place for content enhancement to do its thing.

There are now AI tools that can pick up on the context of an article and automatically create enhancements. What do these look like? Think of them as small stories that connect to the theme. Or sometimes it can just provide further info about the figures. This doesn’t stop at written content either, it can link to relevant videos, audios etc. Saving the editor a precious amount of time on tweaking the quality.

Reader flows

Content is often personalised in the modern world. Think of how Netflix makes suggestions based on your previous choices etc. Do you think that happens by accident? There is a complex AI deciding on what to suggest to you.

There are works in progress to offer this level of personalisation to web content. Companies like Uberflip are experimenting with a technology called smart tags, filtering, and the use of first-party reader data. It is hoped this will lead to increased traffic and therefore revenue.

Analysing trend

There is an increasing trend of publishers using Artificial Intelligence to see what’s going on with current events. This is used to identify and take advantage of trends quickly. Take Reuter’s for an example, they use a tool called Lynx to generate headlines and topics.

Software like Lynx is designed to mimic processes that are carried out by a journalist. Saving them time to focus on things humans are better at. So even though it is scary to think of AI taking over, perhaps instead it can aid us to free our minds to do what we do best. To be creative.

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