Editorial leaders from UK news brands joined counterparts from across the globe to share their visions of generative AI in journalism at the LSE’s virtual JournalismAI festival in December
Joining a expert panel of journalists from across Europe and India to talk about what the future holds for journalism and generative AI, the Guardian’s head of editorial innovation Chris Moran spoke of the need for AI in newsrooms to be geared towards making a real impact in journalists’ work, rather than simply creating ‘nice-to-have’ tools.
Mentioning tools such as simplification programs and context providers to help journalists gather and transmit more relevant information, Moran said that the editorial needs of journalists was at the heart of any AI development: “We’re going to start with our journalism and then see if there is something else we can do with it.”
However, when it came to his concerns around the power of AI, he pointed to the opportunities the technology poses for bad actors to propagate misinformation online: “I think the biggest problem is that the tech is most effective for those who don’t care about accuracy.”.
Another panel from the festival explored one way in which journalists are already able to carry out intensive public interest reporting without the huge time investment manual data gathering can take.
Juan Ginzo, principal data scientist at The Times, worked with a cross-industry team of journalists and data scientists to create an AI tool that provides detailed analysis of MPs’ declared financial interests. While the data is in the public domain, it is not presented in an easily digestible format. The data tool the team created automates the data gathering process, allowing journalists to see trends and potential ideas for stories in a much shorter timeframe.
Ginzo commented: “The most powerful thing about this project is finding the ‘needles in the haystack’ to save a lot of time…we think it will be a technology that will be quite useful for newsrooms.”