Discover more from Business Side
4 takeaways from last week’s AI & news survey
Plus, NYT is rolling out “enhanced bios” for its reporters
The hype (and anxiety) around AI has died down a bit in recent months, and now many publishers are figuring out how to actually put the technology to use.
Here’s what stood out to me:
85% of newsrooms are already experimenting with AI. The most popular use cases fall under the “news production” bucket, e.g. using AI to fact-check & proofread stories or suggest headlines & summaries. Beyond “news production,” a majority of newsrooms are also using AI to help gather and distribute news. Looking ahead, around 80% of respondents said they expect AI to play a bigger role in their newsrooms.
But the impact isn’t evenly distributed. A lack of financial and technical resources are the main factors preventing newsrooms (often smaller ones) from implementing AI. In fact, about 40% of publishers said their AI strategy hasn’t changed in the past few years, typically because of limited resources. These challenges are often more acute for newsrooms in the “Global South,” where language and political challenges can also complicate the use of AI.
Ethical & cultural challenges are also top of mind. Ethical concerns like algorithmic bias and reader transparency were the number two issue limiting AI usage, with 25% of respondents citing that as their most pressing challenge. Cultural challenges were number three (22% of respondents), followed by managerial challenges (12%).
There’s no consensus on who should lead publishers’ AI strategy. Digital/innovation teams are leading at 29% of outlets, followed by a dedicated cross-functional team (26%), other (26%), tech teams (11%), and data teams (9%). Many organizations also don’t have a formal approach to AI, with one respondent writing: “We rely on the initiative and enthusiasm of some of our colleagues who are interested in AI.”
One high-level observation is the gap between experimentation and implementation. While most everyone is experimenting with AI tools, many organizations are struggling to marshall the resources to develop a fully-baked strategy.
One approach here is for these outlets to learn from publishers that are further along. As the study’s co-author Charlie Beckett said: “The best organisations have set up structures to investigate gen AI and processes to include all their staff in its adoption. They have written new guidelines and started to experiment with caution.” Publishers with more limited resources can borrow from these processes and guidelines, tailoring them for their specific needs.
To go deeper:
If this was forwarded to you, subscribe here for regular intel on the business of media.
And here’s the latest news in digital media:
NYT is rolling out “enhanced bios” for its reporters.
Vice’s COO expects a “12- to 18-month build-back process” for the company to become profitable.
The FT launched an app featuring a digital edition of its print newspaper.
The Guardian launched a Europe edition of its website.
New 538 articles will publish to abcnews.com/538, while old articles will live on at fivethirtyeight.com.
The City, a New York-focused nonprofit news site, cut working hours by 20% for its staff.
The News Movement is launching its first podcast next month, as part of a bigger move into audio.
The top editor at Harper’s Magazine resigned, and senior editor Christopher Carroll will assume the role.
Substack redesigned its app, placing a bigger emphasis on discovery in its Home tab.
OpenAI added the ability for ChatGPT to generate images, in addition to text.
TikTok is testing the ability for users to search on Google in its core app.
Snap’s subscription service, Snap+, now has more than 5 million paid users.
The 92-year old Murdoch is stepping down as chair of Fox and News Corp in November.
His son Lachlan Murdoch will continue as executive chair and CEO of Fox and become sole chair of News Corp.
NYT profiled Lachlan, calling him “less overtly political than his father” but also noting that he’s “certain to continue Fox News’s right-wing stance.”
Recode’s Peter Kafka interviewed Brian Stelter about the news.
Press Gazette analyzed data on subscription offers at 60 UK and European publishers.
The Generalist profiled the critically-acclaimed movie studio A24.
Formats Unpacked explained why Wired’s 5 Levels video series is so successful.
NYT’s Kevin Roose tested the new Bard Extensions feature, which allows Google’s AI chatbot to connect to your Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive.
Rest of World reported on why AI training companies are hiring poets and fiction authors.
Thanks for being a part of Business Side’s public beta. Have a great day!
Was this forwarded to you? Subscribe here.