AI assists newsroom, not replaces human journalists

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International journalists spoke on AI technology and its implications for the future of the media at the WJC 2024 held in Seoul Korea recently.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is not new, neither for journalism nor in general, as it has already changed how news is gathered, produced, and consumed, and it is embedded within today’s journalistic practices in many newsrooms.

Many journalists who have experimented with generative AI know how this technology can make a difference.

Elena Sanchez Nicolas, President (Journalist) representing AEJ Belgium, said that whether the use of AI is beneficial or harmful to journalism depends on many factors, including the degree of use, the quality of the software, the impact on editorial independence, the skills of the journalist using the technology, and the editors’s ability to maintain journalistic standards and ethical considerations.

The session “Navigating the Horizon: AI Journalism and the Future of Media,” held at the World Journalists Conference (WJC) 2024 organized by the Journalists Association of Korea in Seoul on April 22, 2024, was attended by 50 international journalists from 46 countries.

norila daud chief editor of Malaysia World News
Journalists from 46 countries attending the WJC 2024 held in Seoul, Korea, including Chief Editor of Malaysia World News, Norila Daud (left).

Elena also stressed that the rise of AI technologies have also posed threats that can undermine democracy and societal stability. One may argue that the proliferation of deep fakes and the AI-powered spread of fake news are some of the pressing challenges facing journalism today.

Leornardo CASAS, Deputy Director BioBioChile, Chile, said in his presentation that the application of AI in journalism serves as an assistant to human journalists, a tool at the service of their publications, and to facilitate work.

“For example, we work with ChatGPT to optimize our Google positioning strategy. It helps us develop new ideas for article creation and better connect with our audiences.

“We cannot conceive of artificial intelligence (AI) as a threat when it is already a reality that we must embrace and use to our advantage. In Chile, we are pioneers in adopting AI tools in the service of journalism,” he said. 

According to Leonardo, the technology also helps them create newsletters, generate journalistic inspiration, produce attractive texts for social media, reassemble texts from press releases, or summarise lengthy texts.

“The goal is to increase efficiency in our newsroom and reduce the journalistic workload,” he said.

Ray Minseong KIM, Head of Media Strategy & H-LAB, Korea Daily, stressed in his presentation entitled “Two Wheels of the AI Journalism Bicycle: The Necessity of Tailored AI Utilisation Technologies and Guidelines” that emerging technologies demand parties involved to explore solutions to the challenges currently facing the newsroom through innovative means.

Ray stressed that it is imperative for the media (newsroom) to develop tailored AI tools and establish guidelines for the staff.

He said that in anticipation of the generative AI era, Hancook Ilbo, in April 2024, took the initiative to craft propriety authoring tools for use in news production and distribution, equipping the internal team, and unveiling “Generative AI Principles’ essential directives that must be diligently adhered to when employing AI tools.

The AI Utilisation Guidelines of Hancook Ilbo encompass a wide range of considerations, including human oversight, transparency, cautious experimentation, defined permissions and prohibitions, the responsibility for fact-finding, diversity and inclusivity, prohibition of hate and discrimination, copyright protection and infringement prevention, protection of personal information and rights to privacy, staff education, and continuous revision of the guidelines.

Meanwhile, on April 4, 2024, Hankook Ilbo became the first major daily newspaper in Korea to formally incorporate AI utilization guidelines into its editorial policies.

“Hankook Ilbo has also established a range of protocols, including guidelines for reporting on suicide cases, gender equality in reporting, disaster reporting guidelines, and election reporting guidelines,” he said. 

Meanwhile, “Hi Newsroom Assistant” is an AI support tool designed to assist journalists in the Hankook Ilbo newsroom with the production and distribution of content. It can be used with HERB, an integrated content management system (CMS) used by members of the Hankook Ilbo newsroom for producing and distributing articles.

“The stewardship of the Hankook Ilbo’s news quality, innovation, and viewpoint perpetually lies with the Hankook Ilbo itself. Generative AI should be utilized not with the goal of replacing human journalists but as a tool to enrich and broaden their skills,” Ray said.

Ray added that technology and guidelines form an indissoluble pair. This duo acts as the two wheels that enable the bicycle of AI journalism to safely propel into the future. Where this bicycle head is determined by humans and journalists who must steer and brake. Mastering this new bicycle requires constant practice and learning through falls and injuries.

Meanwhile, Pensopa Sukontarak, representing the Sub-committee on Foreign Affairs/Senior Reporter, Thai Journalist Association/Thairath, Thailand, spoke on “AI Journalism in Thailand: Redefining and its Future Implications” at the conference.

According to Pensopa, AI journalism in Thailand has gained momentum in recent years and is driven by advances in AI natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technologies.

She said newsrooms across the country are increasingly leveraging AI-powered tools to perform routine tasks like data collection, fact-checking, data storage, and even news writing and the production of news graphics. This not only helps speed up the news production process but also improves the accuracy of reporting.

Al-powered tools help journalists focus more on in-depth analysis and investigative reporting. Algorithms can also identify patterns and trends in data. This supportive data allows journalists to find interesting stories.

Despite its potential benefits, Pensopa also cited that AI journalism in Thailand also presents several challenges and ethical considerations. One of the primary concerns is the potential for algorithmic bias, where AI systems may inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes or misinformation.

“There are also concerns about the impact of AI on journalistic integrity and the role of human journalists in the newsroom. Additionally, questions about data privacy and transparency loom large as the collection and analysis of user data raise ethical concerns.

“Looking ahead to the future of media, opportunities, and innovations, AI journalism is poised to reshape the future of media in Thailand and beyond. By harnessing the power of AI technologies, new organisations can unlock new possibilities for storytelling, audience engagement, and revenue generation.

“Collaboration between journalists and AI experts can drive innovation and foster the development of cutting-edge solutions tailored to the needs of the industry,” she said.

Malaysian World News



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