I just had a conversation with an AI specialist in a news organisation which reminded me of some of the age old problems of product and newsrooms working together. It’s something we need to be considerate about. And I believe that if we think about the communication and org structures ahead of time, we can have a smoother landing.
Product people develop new things. We know from the upfront research we’ve done that users will appreciate it and we’re excited to get it into the market.
But there is a kicker: We’re dependent on newsroom adoption. And with many of the examples of AI I am seeing, we’re asking newsrooms to do more, not less — especially as we recognise the need for “human in the loop” as more examples of AI hallucination come to light.
Two of the most-used examples are headline generators and summaries. Let’s take each one from a product and a newsroom point of view.
We can use AI to suggest different headlines. Maybe we have different headlines for different platforms as afterall, they are different audiences in different frames of minds. Excellent to meet user needs, right? But this also means an extra step of time and effort for a journalist to review, and possibly correct, new headlines.
The same goes for summaries. As I outlined above, so much work can be done automatically to create excellent summaries. But would you send it out without some kind of human check? Unlikely. Again, a journalist will have to read through and make corrections.
As we develop AI tools, we need to also figure out how to bring them into workflows.
Is it reasonable to expect a journalist to remember to log in to a different system/browser to generate a new headline and then port that back into a CMS? Maybe to start with. But if we want to get mass adoption, we need to take these tools to where our colleagues are already working.
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