As future journalists I think it’s important to be updated on what is going to be trending in journalism this year (2023). So I have found this podcast episode called “What should we expect from journalism in 2023?” where Federica Cherubini, the Director of Leadership Development at Reuters Institute interviewed another Reuters fellow Nic Newman, a Senior Research Associate and lead author of the report Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2023.
It is known that journalists these past few years have been experiencing certain difficulties with a lot of things. They had to bear people comparing their jobs with influencers, the move from paper to digital to social media, the “banning” of journalists from Twitter… But now the poor journalists have to deal with the new upcoming monsters. The so-called generative AI ‘CHAT GPT’. I think we will always have to adjust to new circumstances. The world has made us clear of the threats of journalism, but at the end of the day, they still need us to provide them with clear, critical, great quality, and transparent content.
The first main key point is the subscriptions, as mentioned in this podcast episode, Nic Newman got to explain the yearly report where they talked about the trends for this upcoming year. The importance of subscriptions is that with the Ukraine war against Russia are coming harder times for everyone, and that’s why households normally have to make cuts. Unfortunately, the media depends on advertisements and printed paper that’s where most of the cuts take place. Anyhow, the subscriptions are going up, that’s why it’s more important to invest in digital paper, and the journalists need to adapt to making digital content. Federica says that “two-thirds of the respondents in the survey, expect to grow these subscription revenues this year. Is this grounds for optimism” But Nic has a very skeptical point of view on the problem of the households he thinks that they won’t make more subscriptions but they’ll keep the ones they got and they must keep them engaged with the content as the New York Times does, that they have packages of various digital media products.
The second main key is news avoidance since there is no doubt that we have skipped news when they make us feel uncomfortable or sad, as Federica says “sometimes a harder story for readers to digest, and in some cases, it seems to be putting off people in engaging with the news”. However, Nic provided a solution for this matter and said “we gave them a list of types of journalism like, are they going to do more explanatory journalism to explain what’s happening better? Most people are doing that.”. But in my opinion, Journalists can’t only provide information that we like, I think that that would be even worse than filter bubbles. Because, one thing is that the content is there on any platform that whenever we feel like it, we can look for it since filter bubbles hide that kind of information from us because the algorithm knows that we don’t like it. But a whole different story will be only producing content that will be liked and not even having the possibility of looking for it, having a place to consult it. The whole point of being a journalist is to also report the events, successes, or incidents of life as they happen.
The AI monster
And last but not least, the third key point is the AIs. As we were saying before, there’s been a scary time were people were scared of Chat-GPT, DALL·E, and DeePL…but Nic thinks that first we should play with it and try to discover this new thing that was created since we don’t know what it is completely capable of doing yet. But what he most fears is the use that we give to these kinds of things. As I agree with him, for example, Chat-GPT Nic says that they are great at “summarizing what’s happened in the past, but it can’t report on something that hasn’t happened yet, or is about to happen”. That as I said before is the point of journalism, reporting new incidents, so we shouldn’t fear AIs because they still can’t do this kind of thing, yet.
To conclude, I think the best combination is a journalist with the help of an AI. We don’t need to consider them as our enemies, they are just a help, remember to work smarter or harder.