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AI in the local newsroom and how it will attract talent

A newly published academic article flips the old popular premise of robots stealing journalists' jobs on its head. It argues that in a time when attracting talent presents a challenge, AI can actually help local newsrooms – in a couple of ways. For one, automation can take care of routine reporting – tasks that journalists are overqualified to do. Secondly, a newsroom at the cutting edge of tech is a more attractive workplace.

AlexandraB-forUR"If local newsrooms can state their case in both their significance for democracy and their aptitude in technology, they will be attractive for an incoming generation."
                                                               Alexandra Borchardt

 

Alexandra Borchardt, journalist, professor, author and media consultant, has long (well, in AI terms at least) argued the robots’ corner as far as newsrooms go. She’s recently published the peer reviewed article commentary Go, Robots, Go! the Value and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence for Local Journalism in Digital Journalism (“the premier outlet for advancing international research into digital journalism studies”) in which she makes the post pandemic case for AI and automation in the newsroom, providing great advice on the key aspects to get right (see full article).

From our point of view, Alexandra Borchardt’s take on the part AI and automation now play in attracting talent in local newsrooms seems particularly relevant. 

She points out that for small newsrooms, in particular, it’s a challenge to attract journalists who are highly skilled in both digital and journalism. With robots working alongside reporters, newsrooms like those of NTM and Gota Media have the capacity to do the bulk of hyper community information stories on house sales, sports, business and traffic, as well as the bigger in-depth journalistic stories. This, in turn, means local publishers can thrive in digital, thus attracting the right journalistic talent.

In the article, Borchardt also emphasises that with journalism being a business of trust and accuracy, ethical oversight of any AI / automation processes in the newsroom is absolutely key. “This means that human editors need to make sure their products are meeting the standards audiences are entitled to demand. This is not only about language and imagery but also about news value and potential bias. Talent in journalism and technology is needed to do the job. It follows that (local) newsrooms need to present themselves as attractive employers to snatch at least some of the talent everyone is betting on. Maybe AI will help with this, too. Because being at the edge of technology will be an asset in the battle for talent, particularly if innovation is paired with ethics. If local newsrooms can state their case in both: their significance for democracy and their aptitude in technology, they will be attractive for an incoming generation that is looking for purpose as much as for income and job satisfaction.”

If you are curious about how content automation, specifically, is helping local newsrooms boost their journalism offering, read one of our Publisher Cases over in our resource center.

 

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