Game changer: AI takes the lead in our Top 10 editorial stories from 2023

2023-12-20. Looking back on a tumultuous 2023, it’s not surprising that, through war, climate crises and political and economic turmoil, the introduction of ChatGPT saw AI grabbing global headlines – and our editorials offering sage advice, resources and tools in countering this new disruption, proved our most popular reads.

by Lucinda Jordaan | December 20, 2023

The disruption caused by AI and automation has had a major impact on every aspect of society, and news organisations have scrambled to keep up. At WAN-IFRA World Editors Forum, we have strived to bring you all the relevant news, guides, tools, resources and case studies to help fine-tune your own editorial strategies. 

These articles represent a selection of some of our most popular stories during the past year.

How short-form video is helping The Economist gain young users

With more than 61 million followers across Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and YouTube, X (the former Twitter), Meta (formerly Facebook), a fifth of The Economist’s website visits come from social media.

“We take the best The Economist has to offer and turn it into digestible, engaging, quirky, interesting formats that can tease the audience with what’s behind the paywall. Users are unlikely to pay for a product unless they have a taste of it,” Liv Moloney, the publisher’s Head of Social Media, told participants of WAN-IFRA’s Indian Media Leaders eSummit in July.

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New survey finds half of newsrooms use Generative AI tools; only 20% have guidelines in place

In late April, in collaboration with SCHICKLER Consulting, WAN-IFRA surveyed a global community of journalists, editorial managers and other news professionals about their newsrooms’ use of Generative AI tools, to get an overview of where things stand in the industry.  

With responses from 101 global participants, the barometer we set offered surprising results. 

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News as music: Schibsted explores AI-based innovation to attract GenZ

Stockholm-based IN/LAB is a joint venture between Schibsted and the Tinius Trust, and works internationally in Schibsted’s markets. The team shares a close relationship with the Schibsted editorial and product teams built on the common need for innovation. 

Agnes Stenbom, Head of IN/LAB, Schibsted, joined WAN-IFRA’s World News Media Congress 2023 in Taipei to talk about how the team is exploring futures at the intersection of journalism, technology and democracy, in ways that resonate with GenZ audiences.

“It’s important we regularly talk to our GenZ audiences – that we don’t talk about them, but with them. We’re not nice for talking to them, they’re nice for talking with us.” 

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Global Publishing and Journalism Organizations Unite to Release Comprehensive Global Principles for Artificial Intelligence

In September, 26 organisations representing thousands of creative professionals around the world, released  pioneering Global Principles for Artificial Intelligence.

 The Global Principles for AI aim to ensure publishers’ continued ability to create and disseminate quality content while facilitating innovation and the responsible development of trustworthy AI systems.

“These Global AI Principles demonstrate the widespread agreement of publishers worldwide that their intellectual property … should be recognised and respected. AI systems are only as good as the content they use to train them, and therefore developers of generative AI technology must recognize and compensate publishers accordingly for the tremendous value their content contributes to the development of these systems.” 

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ChatGPT prompts: a real, non-AI generated handbook for journalists

After being duped into paying $2 for a prompt handbook that was clearly generated using ChatGPT, Joe Amditis created his own comprehensive resource to help local journalists and newsrooms leverage the power of generative AI and automation – and enhance their news production.

“Transparency, honesty, and authenticity are key here, as with any new technology or industry development. Don’t wait until after you publish an article to involve the community in the process. Bring them along with you and they may even help you figure out better ways to use these tools and incorporate them into your journalism.”

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There’s not enough strategic thinking about the impact AI will have on business models’ 

In April, as ChatGPT was grabbing headlines, Ezra Eeman, Change Director at Mediahuis, offered sage advice on what news media leaders should keep in mind as they prepare for AI’s potential impact on the industry.

“I think there’s not enough strategic thinking about the impact AI will have on the news business model, how it might radically change how we make and distribute news. There needs to be more strategic, almost “Business School 101” level thinking. What happens to the news business model once you start infusing AI?”

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‘In the 21st century, the newsroom is the business’ – Doug Smith on sustaining journalism

Whether new or legacy, independent or not, every news publisher needs solid, practical strategies to remain sustainable in this continuously changing global media landscape. Here’s why Table Stakes Europe architect Doug Smith believes targeted content is the ultimate starting block to transform your operations.

Smith has worked on transformative change across 60 industries. As the architect of Table Stakes and a WAN-IFRA Associate Consultant, he summarised and outlined key elements of his methodology at our Digital Media Africa conference.

What every Strategy should start with (but is often underestimated)’, was aimed at helping newsroom leaders build teams that will seize opportunities, align with audience needs, set objectives, and measure results so they become better at what they do.

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AI use cases: How genAI summaries are boosting Daily Maverick’s readership

The Daily Maverick, an independent South African digital news organisation, has been experimenting with reader engagement since late 2022, boosted by an innovation grant from the Google News Initiative.

By the time ChatGPT launched in November 2022, the publisher had already settled on OpenAI “as the provider with the most accurate summaries, says co-founder and CEO, Styli Charalambous. The result is Daily Maverick Summaries – an AI-generated summation – including a headline and one-paragraph synopsis.

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Six Steps Towards an AI strategy for news – and other findings from Generating Change report

In September, findings from a comprehensive global study – Generating Change: A global survey of what news organisations are doing with AI – co-authored by Professor Charlie Beckett, put paid to much of the hype around AI, by offering real case scenarios of the challenges and opportunities these applications present – with key insights for newsrooms and news organisations.

‘One cannot underestimate how basic you need to get about what AI is – what generative AI is, specifically, and why it’s so different from interpretive AI, to open people’s eyes to some of the really fundamental changes that might be coming along.’ –  Charlie Beckett 

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Q&A with Richard Gingras of Google: ‘I do not buy this notion that journalism cannot be sustained on its own’

As Google’s Vice President of News, a  core part of Richard Gingras’ position is answering the tough questions from publishers he regularly meets. Following his speech at WAN-IFRA’s World News Media Congress in Taipei in June, Bonnier’s Pia Rehnquist posed some questions to Gingras, as did the publishers in the audience.

“We know our business is healthiest in open societies. We believe that the role of journalism helps maintain those open societies. Indeed, it’s a measure of open societies. But if I look at it from a big picture, we should be concerned about the future and the success of journalism.”

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