The scope of artificial intelligence in journalism is widespread, immersive and it’s ever-changing, and finding the right tools, mechanisms and skills to employ it in journalism can be intimidating. Like everything else we do in our work, we must turn to the experts for help. 

JournalismAI, a global initiative that empowers news organisations to use artificial intelligence responsibly has set up, among other resources, a directory with trainers and consultants who can teach journalists and media workers how to use AI tools effectively. The initiative is a project of Polis – the journalism think-tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science – and is supported by the Google News Initiative.

The directory was developed with the US-based organisation, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), and has listed 94 consultants from across the world who can support media workers with skills and training on AI use in the newsroom. 

frayintermedia’s Des Latham has been cited as one of the experts in the field. Latham has completed a course on AI Advanced Prompt Engineering, AI Data Analysis training, ethics and verification, the use of generative AI in publishing, processing forms and AI in translations. He frequently experiments with the different developing forms of AI and has been working with the technology since 2021. 

“Artificial intelligence or large language models are what they say they are. They’re models of languages, mainly in English at the moment, but most languages of the world have now got AI attached to them in one way or the other,” said Latham.

“Journalism’s main tool is language – the use of text and the use of information, the flow of information and ideas – it’s become automatically critical for all journalists, publishers and people involved in media to understand how to use AI,” he added.

Exploring AI in the newsroom

Newsrooms all over the world are exploring different forms of artificial intelligence for different reasons. 

The Associated Press for example started using AI in the newsroom to cover quarterly earning reports, which helped improve the company’s content production. Bloomberg also started using a software called Cyborg, which automates data collection and can analyse financial information, monitor the news, trends and investment opportunities. The Washington Post uses Heliograf to cover major sports events like the Olympics. Reuters’s Lynx Insight helps journalists with data analysis, story ideas and writing, while Forbes uses Bertie to gather insight on trends and topic ideas. 

READ: How newsrooms are using AI

The popular ones that Latham and the team at frayintermedia use and which they can assist with include ChatGPT to create complex strategies, social media and content planners and presentations as well as image generation softwares on Canva, DreamStudio and Discord.

frayintermedia uses AI to generate video explainers, infographics and other visual and motion graphic rich content for its client, Infrastructure South Africa which manages all major state infrastructure projects.

“I’m afraid that this beast is very much upon us and as professionals of any age, we need technical know-how. We need to understand how to use AI, and it can both be a tool and a weapon so I suggest immediately for all journalists to log on to do free courses. There are many online. Learn how this thing works, particularly how prompting works and how to crunch data using the various applications that exist now,” Latham said.

Website | + posts

Content Writer