AI is coming to your newsroom, and it’s a good thing


Let’s take a moment to shift our focus away from Robojournalism and consider a different perspective on AI’s role in the newsroom. David Sallinen, CEO and Founder of Upgrade Media in France, offers a hopeful insight amid the disruptions caused by AI.

In essence, he suggests that AI’s true significance lies in its potential to enhance audience engagement, particularly targeting those who tend to avoid traditional news sources, while simultaneously allowing news organizations to concentrate on subscription-based models.

Admittedly, AI is already making its presence felt in newsrooms, sometimes without explicit awareness or control, which raises concerns about potential issues. This is why initiatives like Spinoza, a collaborative effort among 12 French news organizations to develop journalistic AI, are welcomed by Upgrade Media.

While much attention is given to generative AI, or robojournalism, Sallinen argues that the real advantages of AI lie in its ability to address the challenges posed by evolving audience preferences. Specifically, he believes that AI can play a crucial role in content strategies and enhancing reader engagement.

One significant challenge is “News Avoidance,” which has garnered attention due to its potential negative implications. However, Sallinen suggests that this issue may not be as dire as portrayed. At the recent INMA World Congress of News Media in London, contrasting views on news avoidance were presented. While some argue that it’s a myth, citing subscription figures, others point out that there’s a substantial audience, particularly among younger demographics, who claim to avoid news.

Instead of dismissing these audiences, Sallinen suggests that AI could offer a solution by tailoring content to their preferences. For example, a study in France found that when the term “news” was replaced with “information,” respondents showed a higher interest in staying informed.

This presents an opportunity for news organizations to bridge the gap between traditional news consumers and younger, more elusive audiences. AI tools can be utilized to analyze audience behavior and preferences, leading to customized content that resonates with different segments of the population.

At Upgrade Media, research has shown that AI can significantly enhance engagement by providing tailored summaries and formats that appeal to diverse audiences. This understanding informs their content strategy, allowing them to reach various demographics effectively without the need for additional resources.

In conclusion, Sallinen emphasizes that AI is not just about robojournalism but rather about leveraging technology to adapt to changing audience dynamics and preferences. By embracing AI-driven strategies, news organizations can navigate the challenges of modern audiences while maximizing engagement and relevance.