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AI in Newsrooms: Key Strategies for Successful Transformation in 2024

AI in Newsrooms: Key Strategies for Successful Transformation in 2024

“The bottom line is: If you are not aggressively defining use cases for AI in your stations, the use cases will be defined for you.”

This was the message Jaime Spencer, Head of Local Media at Magid, led with while recently presenting to the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Invited to discuss the place of AI in newsrooms, Jaime outlined the necessity, challenges, and strategies behind successful AI adoption. His key messages are outlined below. 

The hype is real…but let’s not get carried away

AI may be the most important technology of any lifetime in terms of how it will transform the ways in which we work and produce. But it’s still getting started – even ChatGPT, which was the fastest adopted technology ever, has seen a decline in usage since its massive launch.

Technology – like information – is only as good as its applications. Without clear use cases, it simply won’t be used effectively.

For newsrooms, postponing the development of your AI strategy is a mistake. Here’s why:

    The strategy, brand, and execution of most stations is out of sync with today’s consumer. They’re looking for a multiplatform brand, connected and engaged with the community, that delivers a content marketing strategy so they can experience your brand firsthand. AI can take some of the load out of the system so that you can focus on change, innovation and consumer alignment.
    There is a path to sustainability and growth for broadcasters. But the current model will continue to face declining revenue and margin pressure. AI can help ease some of that strain to allow you to find sustainability.
    Newsrooms’ presence as local brands in our communities is a unique and valuable asset that must be protected. AI should never replace local perspectives or people who can engage with the community.

Successfully harnessing AI for your stations requires three stages:

1. Understand what AI is and what it does (and doesn’t do). 

While AI can accelerate efficiency and take away the burden of doing mundane tasks, it cannot engage in critical thinking or other human-grade thought processes. Here’s a breakdown of what Gen AI is currently good and not good at:

2. Define clear and measurable uses with specific benefits for your newsroom.

Strategy should lead technology adoption, not the other way around. 

Therefore, it’s imperative to conduct a workflow and operations analysis to determine:

  • What tasks do you have that can be accelerated?
  • What are your competitive advantages?
  • What are your unique competencies?

Once you’ve conducted this internal audit, consider the exact use cases that will benefit your newsroom’s efficiency and output. Here are examples of specific applications for AI in newsrooms today:

3. Align human resources to leverage the tech while accentuating (not replacing) what they do.

AI can be a valuable accelerator in defined areas – but it is a collaborator, not a replacement. And this thinking aligns with what your consumers tell us. They prefer the idea of AI as a collaborator, not a journalist. Among the ways a news organization can use AI, consumers are most open to application as an editor or formatter.

Ultimately, human journalism activities need to remain human. Consumers are least open to AI initiatives that gather or write content. Like us, they know that journalism thrives when humans are at the center of the process.

Figuring out the nuts and bolts of AI adoption

As newsrooms are thinking more and more about the role of AI in their newsrooms, the deliberation typically comes down to a balance between efficiency and cost savings. At the PAB 2024 event, Jaime noticed that there is a strong interest in and willingness to embrace this technology among news leaders.

In fact, there’s a widespread acceptance in the broadcast news world that AI holds enormous potential for improved efficiency and quality. The technology promises to bolster the editorial process and ultimately deliver a better product. 

Now, many newsroom leaders are trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of integration. Don’t go it alone! We have a team of AI and newsroom experts who can offer helpful guidance in this area. For more information, please reach out to

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