Generative AI will be a useful assistant in the process of storytelling

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


When people think of GenAI in the newsroom, often the immediate response is, “We don’t want AI writing our articles!” Neither does the audience. Because if everyone does that, it’s a race to the bottom. But this is an exceptionally simplistic view of AI. You’ve gone from A to Z, missing the other 24 letters of the alphabet.

GenAI can, and should, be an assistant to journalists and the newsroom. Let’s give you some examples:

  • Starting at A, what are you writing your article about? Maybe you are stuck. Use GenAI to inspire you. It’s excellent at idea generation and brainstorming. 

  • Now you have a great idea. Before you get stuck into reporting, you probably want to check if it has already been covered. You can use search, or you can use GenAI. The advantage of GenAI here is that you can use follow-up prompts and questions to go further rather than opening up a bunch of links and reading through vast amounts of text., which is what currently happens through search. 

  • Now, who knows about this topic? What sources could you use? I know an assistant who can make some suggestions to check out. See note above referencing search vs GenAI.

  • You start the story and there are a number of data sources, all in different formats. It’s going to take a massive amount of time to go through and normalise. Unless you use AI to sort it for you (Google’s free Pinpoint is excellent at that, even for PDFs, which, as we heard, is where “data would otherwise go to die”). 

  • Great story. Could it be better? Maybe it’s a bit depressing and you want to add some levity. Maybe you have 2,000 words where you need 800. Guess what you can ask? Yes, GenAI. Is it cheating? No. Would I suggest you ask GenAI and then publish? Absolutely not. Review, change, publish, It’s simply rearranging your words into a better format. An assistant editor if you will. 

  • Excellent article, nice work. Now, what about a headline? Maybe you have some ideas. Maybe you don’t. Brainstorm it with your news assistant? 

  • You have a great headline, maybe even two. You can use AI to A/B test which is better. Don’t be too upset if your human version doesn’t work. But feel free to be smug if you win.  

  • It’s published, woo hoo. Where else can we distribute it? You probably spend a bit of time reformatting for different channels. Oh no wait, you don’t have to do that. Guess what can help you reformat one piece of contact into multiple channels? OK, you get no prizes now for guessing that GenAI can help with this.  

  • Great article. Shame some people don’t have time to read it as they drive to work. I have an idea: Use a synthetic voice to turn it into an audio article. Better yet, ask the voice AI to adapt the text to be more conversational to make it easier to listen to. 

Congratulations. You are now at Z. Was it exhausting getting here? Or did the AI make you quicker and smarter? Please let me know. I’m at  

Reading this and wondering why it’s part of the Product Initiative? Because you lucky folk who get to figure out how this becomes part of the workflow. I’ve been told that the API integrations are fantastic. Is the phrase “it’s a simple API integration” the new “one line of code?” Again, please e-mail me at to set me straight (or complain).

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About Jodie Hopperton

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