Traditional journalism has taken a bit of a beating in the past decade. The decline of print newspapers, shortened attention spans, and inability to attract paying customers have seriously upended the industry. And the latest woe? AI. Countless headlines make the case that AI will soon replace human reporters, and ‘destroy journalism’.
10 Ways AI is Being Used in Journalism
AI is proving to become one of the most useful tools in the newsroom. AI has driven data-led stories and made way for more investigative pieces. The following cases show how journalists can benefit from AI.
Associated Press worked with firm Automated Insights to increase twelvefold the number of corporate earnings stories it produces. It estimated that it freed up 20 percent of reporters’ time to work on more complex stories.
The Washington Post
The Washington Post used its robot reporter, Heliograf, on Election Day to cover congressional and gubernatorial races. In fact, Heliograf has been used to publish 850 articles in 2017.
BuzzFeed supplemented its on-the-ground reporting on 2017’s political conventions with a Facebook Messenger bot ‘Buzzbot’ that interacted with attendees.
In 2014 Reuters started News Tracer, which analyzes tweets in real time. Tracer detected the bombing of Aleppo hospitals and the Nice terror attacks before they were reported by other media. The tool let Reuters begin its reporting eight to 60 minutes ahead of the competition, a serious head start.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution used machine learning to analyze more than 100,000 disciplinary documents for doctors’ misconduct. The paper was was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for its yearlong investigation on sexual abuse by doctors.
ProPublica’s Jeremy Merrill used machine learning to detect issues uniquely important to each member of Congress.
BuzzFeed News used machine learning to identify surveillance aircraft run by U.S. Marshals and military contractors.
The Atlantic’s Andrew McGill used machine learning to figure out whether Donald Trump is writing his own tweets.
Reporters and Data and Robots
RADAR, or ‘Reporters And Data And Robots’ aims to create 30,000 localized news reports every month. It’s a collaboration between UK news agency Press Association (PA) and news automation specialists Urbs Media.
Knowhere, a San Francisco and London-based news publication that uses machine learning to write unbiased coverage of news stories. The AI picks a topic, looks at more than a thousand news sources, then writes its own “impartial” version of the story.