Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Journalism

Shajan C Kumar

4 min read
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Representational image | Photo: Getty images

Journalism and content development has undergone significant changes in recent years, mainly due to the growth of technology and the rise of social media networks. These changes have resulted in new challenges and ChatGPT is observed as a game changer. What changes are going to affect the working culture in journalism and content development has become a major concern.

With the rise of digital media technologies, journalists and content creators must be able to pivot quickly and adapt to changing circumstances. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a transformative technology that has the potential to revolutionise the way we live, work, and communicate. The Indian media industry is rapidly adopting AI technology to streamline news production, enhance accuracy, and increase audience engagement.

AI has transformed the way news is gathered and verified in India. With the proliferation of social media, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between real news and fake news. AI-powered tools like Google News and NewsAPI have made it easier for journalists to sift through the vast amounts of information. AI algorithms can also help verify the authenticity of news by cross-checking facts and figures with multiple sources.

Sujit Chandrakumar, a former senior journalist said: "I think when I joined journalism more than 30 years ago all the veteran journalists, the famous editors, were walking encyclopedias. They remembered everything, all the important happenings, earthshaking events, and even the dates. But after the search engines came, especially Google, reliance on memory declined. Still one had to read a lot of the different links that the search engine put up and compile a document with a beginning, middle, and end. Now ChatGPT is there with another dimension making things easier. This will make a big difference to research and desk work. Especially because with online news production speed is very important. You don't have the time to check out ten resources and compile a report. This is where ChatGPT is very useful in this day and age. However, where it can make a difference is only in compilation and research, and desk work, it cannot replace the reporter who goes to the field, talks his sources, talks to the people concerned, and does an original article or video. New information cannot be provided by ChatGPT. What ChatGPT can do is compile information that is already available in the public domain. So hard news reporting and good feature writing with talking to different relevant people, I think that cannot be replicated by ChatGPT"

AI-powered translation tools are helping to break down language barriers in journalism.

Another significant change in the working culture of journalism is the emphasis on transparency and accountability. This requires journalists to be more open about their sources and methods and to be willing to admit mistakes and correct them promptly. It also means that media organizations must be more transparent about their funding sources and editorial policies.

Dr Anvesha Sharma, Associate Professor at Bennett University, said, “Journalism is in the midst of change that has been initiated by the introduction of artificial intelligence. Routine stories can now be handled by AI-driven software. Journalism tasks powered by AI will gradually become more common and I expect that in the near future, there will be more stories that have been authored by AI but overseen by humans before it is published.”

The need for diversity and inclusivity has also become a significant factor in the working culture of journalism and content development. The media has historically been dominated by a narrow range of voices, and there is now a growing recognition of the importance of diversity in storytelling. This means that media organizations must be more proactive in recruiting and promoting journalists and content creators from diverse backgrounds. It also means that journalists and content creators must be willing to engage with a broader range of perspectives and to challenge their own biases and assumptions.

Dr Rahul Dass, associate professor at Bennett University who is also the lead faculty for BU’s Centre for Research on Media and Technology, said: “I believe that Artificial Intelligence is the harbinger of change in journalism. AI has set in motion an irreversible process that is likely to impact the newsroom workflow. It will introduce efficiency and free up journalists from mundane tasks so that they can focus on the untold stories from the ground. The man-machine interface will become more evolved. The biggest impact would be on digital media, with AI-driven chatbots like ChatGPT redefining journalism in the months and years to come.”

AI has made it possible to produce news stories automatically using algorithms that can write articles from data sets. The technology is being used by several Indian news organizations to generate reports on topics like finance, sports, and politics.

AI is also being used to deliver personalized news to individual users. Many news apps and websites use AI algorithms to analyze user behavior and preferences to recommend articles that are most relevant to them. This not only helps users stay informed but also increases audience engagement and loyalty.

AI-powered translation tools are helping to break down language barriers in journalism. These tools are being used by news organizations to translate articles from one language to another quickly and accurately.

Abhinav Anand, Digital Media Expert at Globant said: "ChatGPT has had a significant impact on digital marketing experts by making content creation easier, facilitating market research by analyzing data and providing insights into consumer behavior, developing chatbots for customer service, and enabling personalised marketing messages based on customer data. ChatGPT's ability to generate human-like text has helped digital marketers create high-quality content for various digital channels. By analyzing data, ChatGPT has helped digital marketers make data-driven decisions and optimize their campaigns.

But as we say, every good thing too should be dealt with caution. The same is the case with ChatGPT. Reliance is one of the major concerns that I see and screening the content is also something that is really important to ensure that the content is still relevant and valuable to the audience."

The rise of digital media has also changed the business model of journalism and content development. Many traditional media organisations have struggled to adapt to the new digital landscape, and there has been a proliferation of new media startups and independent content creators. This has created new opportunities for journalists and content creators to work independently and build their own brands. However, it has also created new challenges, such as the need to generate revenue through other means other than advertising.

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