Community of Practice

All Things AI

What does the rise of AI mean for audience news professionals? The Audience Community of Practice hosted a discussion on all things AI on Tuesday, June 20 at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT.

We heard from audience peers on how they’re approaching the role of AI in their newsrooms, including implications for search and opportunities to streamline workflows.

Key takeaways:

  • We talked about different ways AI can be used in newsrooms, such as to boost user retention and personalize content for readers. There’s a real opportunity to create a new digital-first experience that’s dynamic, interactive and contextualized for each individual.
  • Some folks are experimenting with AI-generated content, specifically social copy and headlines. Others are primarily using AI tools for assistive and production tasks like formatting and summarizing, so they can focus their time on engaging audiences and serving their needs. 
  • One thing that came up was the importance of having an interdisciplinary AI team within the organization. Bringing together people from different departments, including editorial, legal and product, can foster innovation and enable the emergence of new ideas and applications within the whole news enterprise.
  • Ethics played a big role in our conversation. We talked about real threats of content theft for large language models that are the basis of AI chat interfaces. With little to no regulations, AI tools will lead to declines in referral traffic and loss of subscription and advertising revenue. Folks expressed deep concerns that AI is causing considerable harm, with outsized effects on local news.
  • Nearly everyone expressed concerns about the impact of AI on search referrals, particularly on click-throughs and potential shifts in how content may be prioritized in search results. When the dominance of  social algorithms emerged, reliance on search increased, but with these upcoming search changes the potential for disappearing digital audiences is a big concern.
  • Transparency was another key point. It’s important for new organizations to create policies about their use of AI tools and to communicate those policies internally and also externally to maintain trust with readers. 
  • Ultimately, we can’t ignore AI and all of its ripple effects, because it will deeply affect the news industry. We need to proactively vet its capabilities, so we can make informed decisions about its use in our newsrooms. 

Links and resources:

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