The Next Newsroom | EBU 2019


‘The upcoming shift may well spell the end of PSM as we know it. But it could also be the start of a new era in which PSM organizations are more than ever called upon to act as curators of shared experiences. In a decentralized networked society, trust and ethical data use will be the most precious currencies.’

Special notice goes to public service media organizations in a sweeping report on the implications of AI in journalism conducted by the EUROPEAN BROADCASTING UNION. The study concludes that while only some areas in journalism will be automated, ‘virtually all jobs will undergo some degree of change. Newsroom staff will need a better grip on the technology’

For PSMs, the author’s message is ‘Unite. Work together to make something happen!’ with AI technologies. It points to ways public service media companies can use AI resources to better distinguish themselves the market ahead. For example:

  • Relevance – using AI-aided data journalism to find more public interest stories, and then better matching them to individual interests using AI-aided personalization.
  • Algorithmic accountability – holding a new kind of power to account by understanding and interrogating the ways and uses of algorithms, especially in areas impacting personal outcomes and rights.
  • Journalistic verification – ‘defending factuality and trust,’ particularly in the face of new threats such as deep fakes.
  • Automated translation – using rapidly improving capabilities in natural language processing to serve audiences in other languages.

The report includes several case studies of both PSM and private sector uses and products using AI technologies. There also are several explainners interspersed in the 146-page report.

The narrative is in seven sections:

  1. It’s time to catch up
  2. AI is a handy new tool: use it!
  3. Don’t think you know the audience
  4. Content only has an impact when its found
  5. Find the new public service in an era of AI
  6. Imagine yourself in a better future
  7. Closing

OUR TAKE

  • ‘…the end of PSM as we know it’ is a stark but important message for public service media companies. Some regard reduced funding and increased expectations as competing forces, dulling possibilities for any big, new initiatives. Others see the dynamics of funding v. expectations quicken the necessity for greater focus, and that’s where this report will help PSM readers.
  • The initiatives suggested for PSMs are both timely and sensible. They align well with PSM values.
  • Every news organization, PSM or not, can find value in this study. The case studies and explainers alone are a meaningful contribution to increasing understanding of AI and what it means for journalism.

AUTHORS

  • Atte Jaaskelainen – Professor of Practice at LUT University, Finland and former Director of News and Current Affairs at YLE, Finland.
  • Maike Olij – Journalism consultant and media innovator

SEE FULL REPORT

News Report 2019: The Next Newsroom
EUROPEAN BROADCASTING UNION | November 18, 2019

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