Artificial Intelligence and new technologies are increasingly becoming part of the fabric of many newsrooms. Journalists at the recent Jamfest Africa 2021 shared the opportunities and challenges that artificial intelligence and machine learning can offer journalism and journalists in African newsrooms.

Opportunities

  • Verification
    • AI-based applications can help in detecting doctoring or modifications done to photos or videos
  • Digitisation and archiving
    • Newsroom archives, including stories, photos and videos can be digitised in no time and AI-based applications can be used to make searching easier
  • Moderation
    • It could be a waste of time to go through comments and answer questions. AI-based applications can help moderate the conversation
  • Gender equality
    • Whether it’s equal distribution of tasks within newsrooms or news content on men/women, some AI-based apps help in fulfilling this goal
  • Search
    • AI-based applications can search through large documents and categorising content in them
  • Text and audio
    • Audio content is on the rise. Many AI-based applications can help transform text content in audio and vice versa
  • Photography
    • Used in large events, AI-based applications can help take photos and videos of specific people and items
  • Content distribution
    • AI-based applications can serve every user based on their own needs and what they are looking for

Challenges

  • Algorithm bias
  • Training and lack of available resources
  • News expertise
  • Languages
    • English is fine but what about the other languages?

Tools and methodologies to help newsrooms with research and storytelling

  • Monitor for viral social media posts
    • Monitoring posts enables newsrooms to assess the virality of news stories or cover events at lightning speed
  • Social media network analysis
    • Collecting data from social media and trying to do research related to specific topics, using a variety of tools:
      • CrowdTangle
      • Meltwater
      • Python pandas
      • Civic signal
      • AI
      • Botometer
      • TruthNest

Have a look at other sessions from Jamfest Africa 2021 here.

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