Credit: Created using Magic Media, a generative AI app by Canva

FT Strategies and the Google News Initiative (GNI) have launched a new five-month intensive programme to help news publishers build an AI-driven newsroom.

The Artificial Intelligence Launchpad Programme will take on eight publishers, learning from AI use cases at each stage of the content lifecycle, from audience engagement to monetisation.

Applications will close on 1 February 2024 and the course will start on 19 February 2024.

To be selected, publishers must be committed to implementing future AI initiatives; have at least 500k monthly unique visitors to their digital publication; and have sufficient staff and infrastructure to build and run intermediate-level experiments with artificial intelligence.

Participants receive dedicated 1:1 sessions with FT Strategies consultants and experts from partners at the GNI, the Financial Times, and fellow cohort members.

"Many publishers are already experimenting lightly with AI, but very few have a fully formed strategy for deployment across their entire organisation and in a way that supports their existing commercial goals and ambitions," says Lisa MacLeod, director of FT Strategies in an email to Journalism.co.uk.

"AI Launchpad will teach publishers the crucial aspects of building a coherent and impactful strategy for AI deployment."

Publishers are promised in return a better understanding of the full capabilities and potential that all AI (not just generative AI), including:

  • AI use cases in news production, audience engagement, monetisation, and internal operations
  • A framework for designing low-cost but insightful experiments to test selected use cases
  • Ethical and policy debates concerning AI in news publishing, and how to manage risk in these areas
  • An environment for long-term success in AI within their organisation, including data and technology requirements, robust AI governance structures, and approaches to AI training and socialisation throughout their business
  • A 12-month action plan, with a view to longer-term commitment to an AI strategy that can deliver transformative success

The Financial Times itself is well-placed to offer this as a pioneering digital journalism business, and one of the first publishers to take a clear stance on the use of generative AI tools and provide guidelines for all staff. Its existing AI initiatives have been created through rigorous experimentation, risk assessment and data governance processes.

The GNI and FT Strategies have partnered with more than 500 publishers across many other programmes in EMEA and worldwide to develop strategies designed to enable success in the digital age. 

This includes a range of AI consulting programmes, such as the News in the Digital Age: A Future with AI livestream event, the AI Design Sprint, and the AI Foundation.

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