The evolution of journalism has been influenced by the rapid development of technology over the last few decades. The emergence of the internet and social media platforms, followed by the growth of data journalism and now automation, has transformed the way news is gathered, produced, and consumed.
These developments have given rise to new forms of journalism, such as data journalism and drone journalism, and have created new working routines for journalists, with the introduction of agile methods and product thinking.
The Impact of Technology on Journalism
With more than 20 years of experience studying the effects of technology on journalism, Prof. Dr. Wiebke Loosen from the Leibniz Institute for Media Research will be sharing her insights on the latest technological advancements and how they influence the field of journalism in her Editorial Days 23 presentation.
“There’s a need to understand the broader context of media change in society, rather than just focusing on the latest technology,” said Prof. Dr. Loosen “It’s important to examine how different organizations implement and use these technologies, from tech-savvy developers to traditional editors.”
The Role of Pioneer Journalism in Adapting to New Technologies
Prof. Dr. Loosen also highlighted the "pros of pioneer journalism," or how journalism adapts to new technologies. “This includes new ways of working on projects and thinking in terms of products,” said Prof. Dr. Loosen.
“Editors don’t think in terms of products but stories or articles, which can lead to problems when trying to communicate with innovation departments that use different words or terminologies. We use prototyping as a notion to relate to agile working methods in journalism, especially when it comes to new technologies. However, this can cause tensions with the stable structures that are necessary for the newsroom on a daily basis, which are not always as agile."
The Rise of Automation and AI in Journalism
One of the latest trends in journalism technology is automation. However, Prof. Dr. Loosen noted that this is not about replacing humans with robots but finding ways to help with working routines. Here is the “human in the loop” approach that is repeatedly advocated in journalistic practice. However, according to Prof. Dr. Loosen, we do not yet know whether there is a form of rhetoric behind this, which is also intended to increase acceptance of introducing new technologies.
One of the most exciting recent developments in AI and journalism is ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI. ChatGPT is based on the GPT-3.5 architecture and can generate human-like responses to text input. With the rise of chatbots and conversational AI, ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize the way news is delivered and consumed.
However, as with any new technology, there are concerns about the potential impact of ChatGPT and automation on the future of journalism. Editors and journalists worry about being replaced, and there are concerns about the quality and accuracy of the news generated by AI.
Prof. Dr. Wiebke Loosen notes, "There are always new forms of journalism emerging as the industry adapts to changing environments, and this is a normal process. Just as social media created hype, ChatGPT is now doing the same. However, we can learn from past experiences with new forms of journalism, such as data journalism and algorithms that have come with it."