“The role of the journalists became even more important as they explored these tools further.”
Attended by more than 400 delegates from 43 countries, the FIPP World Media Congress in the Portuguese town of Cascais kicked off with a look at the innovation that’s happening in the face of severe disruption.
Congress 2023 brought together people from a cross-section of media and technology sectors, who explored key industry topics with the foremost global experts.
Ana Rocha de Paiva, Senior Programme Manager for News and Media at Google, shared some lessons from the JournalismAI project.
Here are a few key insights from the session:
1. “AI can contribute to more efficiency in the newsrooms”
We reached 116 news professionals from a total of 71 organizations across 32 countries. And we published this 110-page report. The journalists that responded to the survey believe that AI can in fact contribute to more efficiency in the newsrooms.
We’ve heard from 68% of our respondents that they believe AI can contribute to more efficiency in the newsrooms.Ana Rocha de Paiva, Senior Programme Manager for News and Media at Google
Most of these projects came from very small hyper-local newsrooms. They really wanted to explore AI, and for example in the Middle East and the Mexican ones who are starting to talk now, basically what they’re saying is they were passionate about AI. They really believed that could make a difference in the way they were reporting and finding stories, and producing more content.
But they didn’t understand it. They didn’t know how to do it and how to go about it. And so they went through the trainings from the JournalismAI project and basically gained that additional understanding of how to use the technology, and they started producing stories much more effectively.
Something that I think is very interesting is they believe the role of the journalists became even more important as they explored these tools further, because nothing replaces the human touch, and the human editorial, and the human experience.Ana Rocha de Paiva, Senior Programme Manager for News and Media at Google
2. Most newsrooms lack an AI strategy
63% of our responders told us they don’t really have an AI strategy, and that’s mostly because they lack the resources to do it: the technological resources, the financial resources. But then we probe a little further and we asked more questions, what resources exactly are you lacking?
And more than 40% of our respondents told us that they lack the understanding and the ability to know exactly how to work with the technology, or they lack the ability to hire people that understand the technology and can do something with it.
We obviously identified a huge gap between large and smaller organizations when it comes to the resources invested in AI, to understanding of the technology, and obviously the financial resources. And so throughout everything we’ve been putting out through this project, we’ve had this in mind and we’ve tried to, as much as possible, contribute to bridge that gap.Ana Rocha de Paiva, Senior Programme Manager for News and Media at Google
3. Newsrooms want to experiment actively with AI
The third big insight we drew from that was the eagerness to collaborate with both, with each other within newsrooms or with tech platforms. And so we supported the creation of collaborative experiments with 24 newsrooms. And the ultimate goal of these experiments was to actually produce something concrete, a prototype that could be easily replicable and useful for many more newsrooms and easier to scale.
There are many examples of great projects that these teams worked on, and some of them focused on more editorial challenges like identifying and mitigating newsroom biases. Some of them focused on more concrete business issues like minimizing churn and optimizing conversion funnels.
One of the really cool ones was this one, from the Guardian, where they basically taught the machine to understand what a quote is.
Journalists around the world are under enormous pressure, but they’ve also got incredible new technologies that enable them to do their work in a way that I couldn’t even imagine 15 years ago.