Journalism in the age of Gen AI

“How should we practice journalism in the age of Generative AI?”

This was the theme of my discussion yesterday with financial journalism post-grad students from City, University of London. They were visiting my school the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University Singapore.

The timing was perfect as ChatGPT 4.0 had just been released, and I could show them some mind-blowing party tricks with the latest LLM.

(Pro-tip to all communicators: Always be prepared to pull rabbits out of your hat in any presentation.)

Then the discussion turned to the tenets of journalism and the state of the news industry. Recent studies show that AI (but not necessarily Gen AI) has already been widely adopted in newsgathering (75%), news production (90%), and news distribution (80%) processes. All major news organizations like BBC and Bloomberg have implemented some form of automation in their newsroom operations.

But can AI and Gen AI change the fortunes of an industry that continues to be battered by rapidly evolving audiences and the power of big tech? Can journalism survive the rise of LLMs with a billion datasets?

It was a great discussion and I closed the session by sharing with the students with my strong conviction:

“Journalism is going through a tough transition right now, but it is going to be more crucial than ever in the new age, where misinformation and manipulation will happen at a scale we cannot even begin to grasp.”

“We journalists and communicators must master Gen AI so that we can use it for good and continue to fight for the truth as we always have.”

Thank you to Jane Martinson, Vincent Ni, Pei Wen Wong, Edson Tandoc, Keith Kok and Andrew Lim for helping to make this session happen!