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45 ways AI is being used in Journalism


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Micro case studies on AI in media and journalism ranging from financial publications using algorithms to write earnings reports to investigative reporters analyzing large data sets to outlets determining the distribution of news on social media and more.

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45 ways AI is being used in Journalism

  1. 1. 45 ways AI is being used in Journalism Check out the book Newsmakers to start implementing AI in your newsroom! Share your feedback: Francesco Marconi @fpmarconi
  2. 2. News automation Associated Press AP uses natural language generation to automate part of its financial and sports coverage. In business news, the newswire went from covering 300 companies with human writers to covering over 4,400 companies with the help of smart machines. Source: Automated Insights
  3. 3. Automated briefings The Washington Post Using a tool called Heliograf, reporters provided the Post’s audience with automatically generated daily updates during the 2016 Summer Olympics. The updates were delivered through social media in the form of text alerts or through Amazon Alexa as voice updates. Source: The Washington Post
  4. 4. Tracking gender bias Financial Times FT developed She Said He Said, a bot that automatically tracks whether a quoted source is male or female. The system uses text analysis algorithms to track pronouns and first names to determine the gender of people mentioned in any given article. Source: Financial Times
  5. 5. Text mining The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal analyzed the shareholder letter portion of GE’s annual report using natural-language processing libraries. Trough this approach, journalists were able to identify and quantify catchphrases favored by each of the executives who led the industrial conglomerate. Source: WSJ
  6. 6. Graphics Automation STAT News Health publication STAT News ingest raw data from public sources and automatically generates charts and visuals to distribute on social media. This approach has been used to provide readers with regular updates on the covid-19 pandemic. Source: STAT News
  7. 7. Facial Recognition The New York Times Using public video footage of Bryant Park in NYC and analyzing it through Amazon’s facial recognition software, journalists created an interactive article discussing the broader implications of this type of technology and its potential uses by governments. Source: The New York Times
  8. 8. Synthetic news anchor Xinhua China’s Xinhua News Agency AI-powered platform Media Brain analyzes publicly and privately collected data from social media, search engines, news feeds. The agency also created the world’s first AI news anchor, a digital replica that resembles a human journalist. Source: Xinhua
  9. 9. Dynamic paywall The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal’s paywall is powered by a machine-learning algorithm that measures reader activity. It gives a unique subscription probability to each reader, which helps inform how many sample stories users can access. Source: The Drum
  10. 10. Automated summaries Bloomberg Bloomberg launched The Bulletin, a feature on its mobile app powered by machine-generated summaries that provide readers a “sense of completion in quickly learning the latest news of the moment, and a comprehensive summary of the news that goes beyond a headline.” Source: Bloomberg Media
  11. 11. Event detection Reuters Reuters’ platform News Tracer helps reporters monitor emerging topics on social media and find relevant stories more quickly. In 2015, it revealed social media activity documenting a shooting in San Bernardino, California, before any other news organization. Source: Thomson Reuters
  12. 12. Augmented Fact Checking The Wall Street Journal Talk 2020 is a text analysis platform and search tool that allows the newsroom to access to 30 years of public statements made by 14 presidential candidates. It pulls transcripts from speeches, rallies, interviews and press conferences and uses Factiva as its primary data source. Source: WSJ
  13. 13. Localized news wires Press Association and RADAR The Press Association uses reporters and data and robots for a service called RADAR that writes local news stories. With AI technology, it has already written 50,000 individual local news stories in three months. Source: Newsrewired
  14. 14. AI news assistant Forbes Forbes developed an AI-powered content management system called Bertie to automatically suggest headlines or images that should accompany a story. Source: Forbes
  15. 15. Local news automation Hoodline This platform works as an automated local newswire service. It analyzes data and turns it into relevant local news stories. Then it distributes the stories accross its network of publishers. Source: Hoodline
  16. 16. Emotion detection Quartz Journalists at Quartz had a computer watch a televised debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It recognized dominant emotions measured by facial expressions for each candidate. Source: Quartz
  17. 17. Recipe recommendation BuzzFeed Recommends recipes to users on the Tasty app using machine learning. A content based recommendation system makes personalized recommendations for users based on their past views and likes. Source: BuzzFeed
  18. 18. Language analysis Vox Th3 online publication run a natural language processing analysis in order to compare eight State of the Union addresses by former President Obama. By quantifying the frequency of terms such as “economy,” “jobs,” and “war,” the AI-powered assessment identified the most common themes for each year. Source: Vox
  19. 19. High school sports Automation Richland Source This digital news outlet in Mansfield, Ohio, is automating articles from the results of Ohio high schools’ sporting events. It built the tool Lede AI in 2018 with Abundat, an artificial intelligence company. Source: Nieman Lab
  20. 20. Voice-over BBC The BBC has developed one such tool, called ALTO, which uses text-to-speech technology to provide voice-over tracks for video content in multiple languages. It processes the video content into a transcript. The journalist then uses speech technology to automatically create a synthetic voice in a different language. Source: BBC News Labs
  21. 21. AI-powered investigations BuzzFeed News In a 2017, BuzzFeed News published a story about spy planes after training a machine-learning model to look for aircrafts with flight patterns similar to those operated by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. Source: BuzzFeed News
  22. 22. Network analysis El País The Spanish newspaper used the tool Graphext for data science analysis. It leveraged it to map relationships between politicians and the media, by analyzing hundreds of social media accounts. Source: El País
  23. 23. Personalized news The Times It has an AI-powered tool called JAMES, which stands for Journey Automated Messaging for Higher Engagement through Self-Learning. It acts as a digital butler, using data to get to know the habits, interests, and preferences of readers. Source:
  24. 24. Video annotation Sky News Sky News uses AI for facial recognition, subtitling automation and datasets. An example is the piece “Who’s who”: In 2018, Sky News used AI facial recognition technology to spot and identify the guests arriving at the UK Royal Wedding. Source:
  25. 25. Automated election results BBC BBC News will use “semi-automated journalism” in its election coverage in 2019 for the first time. It will also use a Twitter bot (@bbcelection) to automatically tweet out the result for all of the 650 UK constituency. Source: Press Gazette
  26. 26. Digital replica Thai PBS This year, Thai PBS also presented its first AI journalist. The digital replica mimics the voice, body movements, and other personal characteristics of the leading anchor of the network. Source: JournalismAI
  27. 27. Voice assistant BBC BBD is also planning to launch a digital voice assistant in 2020. It’s being designed to work on all smart speakers, TVs and mobiles. Source: BBC
  28. 28. Document mining ICIJ The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists uses an AI-powered tool to automatically recognize and index text documents by recognizing entities (people, places, dates etc.) within content. This was used to make sense of 13.4 million confidential documents relating to offshore investments for the series—“Paradise Papers: Secrets of the Global Elite.” Source: ICIJ
  29. 29. Headline optimization In 2016, Microsoft used a type of reinforcement learning called contextual bandits to select optimal headlines for, improving click-through rates by 25 percent. This system functions as a more sophisticated form of A/B testing. Source: Microsoft
  30. 30. Sensor data South Florida Sun Sentinel The South Florida Sun Sentinel collected data through GPS sensors to investigate speeding police officers, which led to a series awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2013. Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel
  31. 31. Machine learning investigations Atlanta Journal-Constitution Using machine learning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered sex abuse by doctors, as recounted in a series of 2016 stories on how physicians were able to keep their licenses after being disciplined. Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  32. 32. Audio mining The Capital Times The Capital Times newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, leveraged an audio recording device developed by Cortico to collect conversations from small group meetings. The device is connected to an online platform that identifies recurring themes, helping reporters surface unique perspectives from local communities. Source: The Capital Times
  33. 33. Report automation Patch In 2018, it began incorporating artificial intelligence into its workflow and content management system to automate weather and school closure reports. Its goal is to craft and scale articles that don't need further analysis. Patch is publishing 3,000 pieces a week with this technology. Source: Ad Age
  34. 34. Useful tools and platforms
  35. 35. Dataminr This platform detects the earliest signals of high-impact events and emerging risks. Radio France used it to detect outliers in social media conversations. That gave the French news organization a head start covering the 2016 bombing of the Brussels airport and the terrorist attack in Nice. Source: Dataminr
  36. 36. Narrativa The natural language generation company is able to create 18,000 distinct soccer news articles for different leagues and teams, every week, in English, Spanish, and Arabic. These stories are then published by news portals such as and El Confidencial. Source: Narrativa
  37. 37. True Anthem Media organizations including Reuters, the Chicago Tribune, Hearst, and CBS Interactive deploy AI-powered content distribution platform TrueAnthem to determine what stories should be recirculated and when they should be posted across social media platforms. Source: True Anthem
  38. 38. Wibbitz This online tool recognizes visual elements in photos and videos and automatically matches them with a text script that has been previously generated through natural language processing. Source: Wibbitz
  39. 39. NewsWhip This tool mines social media and runs sophisticated analysis of news coverage. It can monitor the public’s curiosity about specific topics, then deliver that information to reporters via alerts and online dashboards. Source: Newswhip
  40. 40. Synthesia This startup provides AI-driven video production. Its ENACT platform can generate new, professionally looking video without the need for any cameras or hardware. It also enables translation into any language. Source: Synthesia
  41. 41. Deeptrace This startup is building “the antivirus for deepfakes” using deep learning technologies that detect synthetic or altered audiovisual media. It alerts customers when detects manipulated media and provides detailed analytics. Source: Deeptrace
  42. 42. SAM Desk SAM is a monitoring tool that delivers speedy alerts and situational awareness. It analyzes social media updates and detects incidents or disruptions around the world. Source: Samdesk
  43. 43. Trint This software allows journalists to upload video or audio files and uses speech-to-text to automatically transcribe interviews or caption video. It also provides editable transcripts that users can export. Source: Trint
  44. 44. Vidrovr A platform that leverages computer vision to help media companies and newsrooms to automatically tag and index video content. This is particularly relevant when searching through video archives and producing visual content to be distributed across platforms. Source: Amper Music
  45. 45. Amper Music Allows journalists and content producers to automatically compose custom soundtracks that can be used in documentaries and podcasts. Source: Amper Music
  46. 46. Agolo The company uses natural language processing to create summaries from information in real-time. It is able to analyze multiple documents and generate a concise overview of the subject. Source: Agolo
  47. 47. Share your feedback: Francesco Marconi @fpmarconi Check out the book Newsmakers to start implementing AI in your newsroom!