Artificial Intelligence is the buzzword of the decade it seems, sparking both excitement and fear in marketers everywhere. On one hand, AI offers unparalleled efficiency - a supercomputer at our fingertips is finally here. It can automate your routine tasks, provide you data-driven insights or offer rapid information synthesis “reading” large swaths of information faster than humanly possible.

Yet it also poses a potential threat to the innate creativity that makes us human and emotional intelligence that is the bedrock of compelling storytelling. Striking the right balance between these forces is crucial for media professionals who aim to leverage AI without losing the unique human touch that distinguishes their work.

The Rise of AI in Media

AI has revolutionized the media industry by streamlining so many parts of our day-to-day. Tools powered by AI can transcribe interviews, analyze vast datasets, and even generate news articles on simple topics. Writers at The Associated Press, for instance, use AI to produce their quarterly earnings reports, which frees them up to focus on more complex stories. In fact, by using AI to automate certain stories it saves them a whopping 20%of their time so they can focus oncritical, qualitative pieces. (Automated Insights, n.d.)

Similarly, Reuters’ News Tracer employs AI to detect breaking news on social media platforms, significantly reducing the time required to identify and verify newsworthy events.  (Reuters, 2017).

We know that AI has a lot of potential for assisting with labor-intensive tasks, which will allow journalists to allocate more time to investigative reporting, in-depth analysis, and storytelling.

Just how efficient AI can be, however, may come at a cost. We run a risk of over-reliance on algorithms, forgetting that the tool is spitting out information from the same pool of data. If everyone starts to use ChatGPT to write everything, this could lead to homogenized content, not to mention a loss of the personal touch that resonates with audiences.

Maintaining Human Creativity

Journalism and content creation are creative pursuits not just in the craft of writing, but also for the ability to understand and convey nuanced emotions, cultural contexts, and ethical considerations to mass audiences.

AI, despite its advancements, lacks the capability to replicate these uniquely human attributes. Meme culture, trending news, colloquial expressions…these are only a few of the things that generative AI seems not to understand just yet. Media professionals must therefore find ways to integrate AI that complement rather than replace their creative input, so as not to lose these human touches.

One approach is to use AI as a collaborative tool rather than a replacement. Some have referred to it as AI as our assistant.  For example, AI can assist in brainstorming by analyzing trending topics and suggesting relevant angles or headlines, which writers can then refine and personalize.

Additionally, AI-driven analytics can provide insights into audience preferences, enabling content creators to tailor their work to meet the needs and interests of their readers while maintaining their distinctive voice and style.AI is used to scan large document sets, detect breaking news events on social media, and scrape data from various online sources. This approach helps journalists manage and analyze data more efficiently, ultimately leading to quicker and more accurate reporting

Ethical Considerations

Incorporating AI into journalism brings up a whole suite of new ethics to consider. Algorithms can inadvertently perpetuate biases present in the data that they are trained on. (The information is full of wrong information and thus, if the algorithm is feeding from that information, it is perpetuating fallacies).   Human oversight is essential to ensure that AI-generated content adheres to journalistic standards of accuracy, fairness, and impartiality.

Moreover, transparency with audiences about the use of AI is critical. Readers should be informed when AI contributes to content creation, fostering trust and allowing them to appreciate the blend of technological and human efforts in the articles they consume.

Tips & Tricks for Effective AI Use

We’ve come up with 5 ways media folks can start to establish a balance between AI efficiency and human creativity, but these are only beginning to scratch the surface of opportunities.

  1. Selective Automation: Identify routine and repetitive tasks that can be automated without compromising quality, such as transcription and data analysis, while reserving more creative tasks for human input.
  2. Collaborative Tools: Use AI as a brainstorming partner or research assistant, leveraging its analytical power to enhance, rather than dictate, creative processes.
  3. Continuous Learning: Stay informed about the latest AI advancements and their implications for journalism. Engage in ongoing training to effectively incorporate new tools while maintaining journalistic integrity.
  4. Human Oversight: Implement rigorous editorial oversight to review AI-generated content, ensuring it meets the necessary ethical and quality benchmarks. Fact checking is absolutely essential as it’s been known to mess up or freestyle without warning.
  5. Transparency: Be transparent with audiences about the role of AI in content creation, fostering trust and appreciation for the combined efforts of humans and machines.
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