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Editing Tool: A Deep Dive Into Our Editor-Centric AI Product Development
2024 Finalist

Editing Tool: A Deep Dive Into Our Editor-Centric AI Product Development

Ippen Digital

Munich, Germany

Category Artificial Intelligence

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

How can we ensure that editorial applications powered by Generative AI are not just built top-down and then adopted by newsrooms, but address editors’ needs while delivering business value? Our approach: Co-designing these tools with the newsroom by involving journalists as integral and equal members of the AI team. They are co-creators, not just users. 

Our strategy involves three steps: First, we hired an editor on the AI team to collaborate with engineers in building and testing AI tools. Second, we launched dedicated internships within the AI team, enabling journalists from various departments, whether sports or politics, to spend two weeks – a complete sprint – with the team and help develop new ideas and applications. Third, we conduct product discovery sessions to better understand editors' needs and address them with AI tools. 

A prime example of this approach is the development of a new editing tool. The idea was brought to the AI team by a managing editor and later validated through in-depth interviews during an on-site discovery session: Time constraints in day-to-day operations make it difficult to thoroughly edit articles to meet our style guidelines. Especially at weekends and in the evenings, the risk of grammatical or stylistic errors increases. New writers and freelance contributors can pose an additional challenge to our managing editors. An assistant would free them up while helping to maintain high editorial standards.

After exploring this challenge with Ippen’s Head of Text and additional editors, we identified three potential solutions, which were compared by a dozen journalists at a workshop.

We decided on an in-house assistant. Together with journalists doing their internship with the AI team, we iteratively crafted a complex prompt that condenses our style rules. The prompt was integrated into our AI prototyping platform, which over 150 editors currently use. Engineers worked with journalists to build a system that highlights all changes and quotes, making the editing process transparent and easy to track. Before its launch, we tested the assistant in three newsrooms.

Results for this campaign

  • A standardized approach to editing our articles in accordance with our stylebook;

  • A time-saving solution that supports the efforts of our managing editors and Head of Text to significantly improve the quality of our reporting;

  • A flexible solution that can easily adapt to newsroom-specific style rules.

Looking ahead, we plan to continue improving the tool:

  • The assistant is currently based on GPT-4. Having already started fine-tuning large language models with our articles, we plan to transition to a dedicated, fine-tuned Ippen model to tailor its results further;

  • To enhance the tool's usability, we plan to integrate it into our CMS via API. Ideally, both authors and managing editors would be able to launch the editorial assistant with a single click within the CMS;

  • We are investigating additional options, such as advanced editing alerts;

  • We plan to roll out the tool to more newsrooms. BuzzFeed Germany, for example, addresses its readers in the “you” form. Other newsrooms have additional internal rules to ensure gender-neutral language. We aim to take those into account;

  • As we redesign the statistics within our AI prototyping tool, we plan to add an option to better track the tool's usage and its results, in parallel with a broader rollout in 2024.


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