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If we got a penny for every time someone mentioned AI this year, we would have enough money to buy out The Telegraph.

But like with every hype, the most interesting period ironically starts once the excitement subsides. In the next 12 months, more newsrooms will embrace the technology for sourcing, formatting, checking and distributing their content. This will not devalue human-centred journalism though. Quite the opposite - the true human connection between journalists and audience will come at a premium.

News outlets must play to their strengths: Jonathan Heawood, executive director, Public Interest News Foundation

There are two equal and opposite forces driving journalism right now. On one side, there is the push towards automation. Large language models and other forms of AI are simply better at some things than we are. They will play a bigger role in journalism in 2024.

On the other side, there is the push towards humanisation (for want of a better word). Real people are increasingly looking for real journalism from real journalists. And some parts of the sector are meeting this need with new forms of live journalism, news cafes and community newsrooms.

The AI crowd have far greater resources and political support, but the humanisers are doing much more to rebuild trust with communities and create sustainable models of journalism.

In 2024, we will see big noisy moves towards AI, and quiet but significant moves towards humanisation. In the short term, the AI innovations will attract more attention, but my long-term money is on the humanisers, not least because news organisations can sell people stuff when they are in a room together.

We live in an era when people spend more on coffee than they do on news – so let's sell them coffee. Or cakes. Or sandwiches. Or whatever they want to pay for that is compatible with our fundamental role of providing them with quality information.

If we want to compete on the machines' territory, the machines will always win. But when it comes to building true relationships between journalists and the communities they serve, then humans are simply better at being humans. So, I am looking forward to seeing what new forms of human-centred journalism emerge over the next twelve months.

Bridging the language gap in AI-powered journalism: Tshepo Tshabalala, project manager, JournalismAI

AI in journalism continued to accelerate throughout 2023, and things will not be slowing down anytime soon. Various organisations will look to address various challenges plaguing newsrooms in non-western territories (global south).

One of those areas news organisations will attempt to address will be bridging the language gap in AI-powered journalism. Currently, the majority of AI tools in the news industry are developed for English-language content, leaving a significant gap in accessibility for non-English speaking audiences. This imbalance is poised to change as global south news organisations recognise the untapped potential of AI to expand their reach and serve diverse communities.

To address this linguistic divide, global south news organisations will likely form partnerships and collaborations with AI developers, researchers, and tech startups. These collaborations will focus on developing AI technologies tailored to specific languages, cultures, and regional contexts. This localisation of AI will enable news organisations to produce content in local languages, better understand diverse perspectives, and engage with a wider audience.

The rise of AI in global south journalism will not replace the role of human journalists but rather augment their capabilities. AI tools can handle tasks such as language translation, data analysis, and fact-checking, freeing up journalists to focus on deeper investigative reporting, contextualising news, and engaging with audiences. This symbiotic relationship between AI and human expertise will lead to more comprehensive, nuanced, and culturally sensitive journalism.

New tech will require journalists to upskill - and fast: Suswati Basu, audience expert and editor

There will be many more copyright infringement lawsuits in the future, and tools like AI checkers will increasingly become the standard.

That being said, AI is likely to become more integrated into some newsrooms to enhance efficiency but it will also continue to divide the industry. For instance, CNN, The New York Times, and Reuters have already blocked web crawlers from processing their content. In contrast, some news stations have opted for AI anchors and the automation of low-level article production.

Social media is likely to fully embrace AI and journalists will probably use it more frequently to generate campaign concepts, caption ideas, text-to-image generation, and more. AI will also play a role in addressing accessibility issues by providing automated ALT text descriptions, subtitles, and other essential features.

However, staff members will need to acquire skills in data analysis, machine learning, and other technical areas to remain competitive in the job market. They will continue to have a vital role in overseeing content to ensure accuracy and high standards, while AI will assist in personalising content for the audience thus increasing consumption.

Make the next 12 months count: Joseph Hook, news automation consultant

Following a year in which an explosion of interest in AI fuelled a huge increase in its use, and much discussion about where it fits into newsrooms, 2024 will still be all about AI. But for journalists, the next 12 months may be much more exciting: we can move past the hype and fully explore what can be done with it.

Some of this will be about looking backwards, to the bits of AI that were, in some places, skipped over. Generative AI presents exciting possibilities but fields like natural language generation have not yet been fully exploited. As organisations make more focussed efforts in AI, now is the time to look at the full range of what we can do with it.

AI will radically change what we do in positive ways. It will give reporters greater scope to investigate, and allow us to report news which is more localised and personalised to readers’ interests.

It will also change how that news is delivered: the article does not need to be the base unit of all written journalism anymore and all other media will be similarly impacted. This means that a reporter’s research and knowledge can be tailored more closely than ever before to formats which fit varied audiences’ needs.

With an increase in the relevance of news, and improved delivery to wider and more diverse audiences, 2024 will also offer the opportunity to build revenue: news organisations which capitalise on new-found capabilities to diversify their content will stand to benefit from larger, more engaged audiences.

But, more importantly, content which is more relevant and accessible will be essential for the democratisation of news – what better time to start?

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