AI is revolutionising journalism, and newsrooms must get on board

By Silence Mugadzaweta

Alpha Media Holdings

Harare, Zimbabwe


Even before the digital transformation wave fully circled, news publishers woke up to a new wave of technology threatening their existence.

Debates and discussions on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it will impact journalism have taken over almost every journalism gathering. It is clear AI is revolutionising the field of journalism, resulting in vast opportunities to improve efficiency, accuracy, and audience engagement.

Newsrooms will continue tackling complex tasks like data analysis, content curation, and personalised delivery through AI integration. Furthermore, the introduction of AI in journalism marks a significant shift in the way news is gathered, produced, and disseminated, hence transforming the industry's landscape.

There is no denying Artificial Intelligence will remain a deeply engrained part of global newsrooms.
There is no denying Artificial Intelligence will remain a deeply engrained part of global newsrooms.

However, it is vital for publishers who have not started with guidelines on how to use AI in the newsroom to quickly do that.

Benefits of using AI in newsrooms

Efficient data analysis: AI helps newsrooms analyse huge amounts of data quickly. This allows for in-depth research and creation of compelling content. This is advantageous when it comes to reader revenue.

Personalised content delivery: With the rise in demand for content that resonates with audiences, personalised content has become the daily bread for progressive publishers. By capitalising on AI algorithms, publishers will deliver tailored content targeted at individual audiences, enhancing reader engagement and satisfaction.

Automated content generation: Some newsrooms have shown it is possible to generate news articles, summaries, and reports as well as streamlining the content creation process. What this does is that it facilitates and allows journalists to focus on in-depth reporting and analysis, giving audience quality journalism with context. But challenges exist and publishers ought to be aware of them and strengthen policies that may need to be reviewed from time to time.

Challenges of using AI in newsrooms

Biased algorithms: There is a possibility that AI systems may catalyse bias. This affects accuracy of news coverage and recommendations. And, with the growing trend of declining trust in news, publishers may need to put checks and balances in place to retain credibility.

Data privacy concerns: There have been growing concerns over issues related to personal data protection and user consent in data processing related to the use of AI in journalism. However, many governments have put guidelines for data protection in place, and these can be followed by publishers. Publishers are also at liberty to create data access policies that assure audiences their data is safe. Consent has to be a priority.

Future of AI in newsrooms

There have been a number of stories of successful AI integration in news reporting, including real-time transcription. Transcribing is a particular headache especially when faced with looming deadlines and newsroom pressure. Thus, AI-powered software has the ability to transcribe live events, interviews, and press conferences, facilitating rapid news updates.

Automated fact-checking is another form of integration in news reporting. This is necessitated by algorithms that can easily and accurately verify the authenticity of information, enhancing the credibility of news reporting.

It is clear AI is generating change in newsrooms, and there is potential for publishers to maximise what it has to offer.

So far, no research has concluded AI will replace journalists, although it will impact certain tasks in the newsroom. Research has concluded that AI-generated content still needs a human eye to filter in order to mitigate potential inaccuracies and issues like bias. This means there is a growing demand for more training targeted at journalists for capacity building.

Many newsrooms lack expertise in AI. This has led to an atmosphere clouded with fear, halting any possibility of innovation linked to AI in some newsrooms. It is therefore mandatory for news leaders to start investing in AI, for it is not going away.

About Silence Mugadzaweta

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