The transformation of online journalism is accelerating under the influence of innovative breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) technologies. According to Francesco Marconi, a computational journalist and co-founder of AppliedXL, “AI should not only be seen as a tool to generate more content but also to help us filter it.” Marconi believes that journalists should play a role in the development of new AI tools and apply journalistic principles to the technology, he told Reuters News agency in a recent interview. He emphasizes that “media companies have an opportunity to become a major player in the space” by utilizing their valuable assets, such as text data for training models and ethical principles for creating reliable and trustworthy systems.
Madhumita Murgia, the AI editor at the Financial Times, acknowledges the consumer-friendly nature of AI tools like ChatGPT, stating that “It feels like there’s an intelligence there, even though it is really still just a very powerful sort of predictive technology.” However, Murgia highlights that generative AI in its current state is not original or creative, as it lacks the analytic capability and voice that human journalists possess. She emphasizes the need for more analysis and developed perspectives, which readers seek from outlets like the Financial Times.
Professor Charlie Beckett, the head of JournalismAI at the London School of Economics, advises caution and discourages journalists from relying solely on new AI tools without human supervision. He suggests that AI is about augmentation rather than total automation, providing professionals and creatives with tools to work faster while leveraging human judgment and editing. Beckett notes the flaws present in human journalism and highlights the importance of understanding the tools and risks associated with AI.
The interplay of AI and NLP technologies in online journalism brings both prospects and challenges. AI tools like ChatGPT and JasperAI have the potential to reshape online journalism by making processes more efficient for journalists and enhancing the accessibility of content for readers. These technologies aid journalists in focusing on comprehensive analysis and reporting, delivering more accurate and timely news to readers.
However, the infiltration of AI into online journalism raises crucial ethical dilemmas, including the possibility of job displacement and the need to maintain transparency and accountability in AI-generated content. To address these issues, digital news outlets should train journalists about the possibilities and limitations of AI tools, devise ethical guidelines for AI’s usage in journalism, and advocate for transparency in AI-generated content by clearly attributing the information source.
As the dynamics of online journalism continue to transform, the careful and responsible incorporation of AI technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s future. By acknowledging AI’s potential and tackling associated challenges, journalists and news organizations can adapt to this changing terrain, delivering valuable, precise, and timely content for their readers in a progressively digital era.