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An occasional column on the stories on media innovation that are intriguing, engaging or alarming us

JAMLAB Contributor
Aug 28 · 3 min read
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Image: luis gomes /Pexels

Artificial Intelligence (AIs) write hundreds of thousands of the articles that are published by mainstream media outlets every week. These systems can only produce articles where highly structured data is available as an input, such as video of a football match, or spreadsheet data from a company’s annual return. They cannot write articles with flair, imagination, or in-depth analysis. As a result, they have not rendered thousands of journalists redundant. Instead they have sharply increased the number of niche articles being written. in any large organisation, there are costs to be saved by automating various tasks and activities. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can speed up and improve the production of market reports, the fleshing out of customer databases, and the handling of responses to customer enquiries. Giving robotic jobs to robots is the bread and butter of management today.

The exacerbation of the local news crisis, propelled by the pandemic, demands new financial models, but it also underlines the need for better media structures — in which readers are no longer audiences, but partners in the work. Reimagining journalism’s relationship to its community could serve as both an important end and a means to survival. A community-centered journalism project that works in one rural area may not work in another, but the process itself — and the repositioning of a newsroom’s relationship with its readers — can generate a solution that fits each unique place and its people. The sustainability of journalism in the long term will require such solutions.

Google is lobbying Labor and crossbench MPs to oppose a proposed code that would require digital platforms to pay news media companies for content, urging them to “carefully consider the proposal to ensure it operates in the best interests of Australians”. The code is aimed at addressing the imbalance in bargaining power between the news media and tech giants such as Facebook and Google, and force the platforms to pay for the value they receive from use of Australian journalism. The code would also require Google and Facebook to provide media companies with information on changes that might affect their traffic, such as alterations to news rankings or the search algorithm

This year’s big journalism and media events, which have come to be both an extension of major journalism brands and a hot source of revenue, don’t look the same due to the pandemic. That’s not all bad. Reconstituting the annual festivals to an all-virtual format has gone surprisingly well. A common thread is that hard work and ingenuity were required to pull off a virtual version. The events are likely to come back live in 2021 — but watch for virtual to retain a role (as virtual will, too, in the office life for businesses and how journalists work).

jamlab

Strengthening innovation in African independent journalism and media.

JAMLAB Contributor

Written by

jamlab

jamlab

The Jamlab Africa Newsletter is produced by Wits Journalism. The Journalism and Media Lab supports innovators to bring new information, new ideas and new conversations to new audiences in Africa.

JAMLAB Contributor

Written by

jamlab

jamlab

The Jamlab Africa Newsletter is produced by Wits Journalism. The Journalism and Media Lab supports innovators to bring new information, new ideas and new conversations to new audiences in Africa.

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