The Associated Press released today a groundbreaking report that provides important insights into local news outlets’ understanding of artificial intelligence and their readiness to use AI to meet their journalism and business needs.
The report is based on survey results from nearly 200 newsrooms across all 50 states and more than two dozen in-depth interviews with local news leaders. Print, radio, television and digital outlets are represented, as well as commercial and nonprofit operations.
In addition to demonstrating a readiness to adopt AI and automation technologies, the report outlines what local news providers need to drive technological innovation.
“With this report, AP aims to raise awareness and also begin to level the AI playing field for local newsrooms,” said Jim Kennedy, AP senior vice president of strategic planning. “The goal is to help them harness innovative technology to improve their operations.”
Key findings from the report include:
- There is a significant gap between large and small news organizations in terms of how widely AI and automation technologies are used.
- Despite some concerns about handing off human work to machines, there is nevertheless strong support among local newsrooms for automating tasks that could free journalists for deeper reporting, streamline production or enhance content monetization.
- While interest is high, AI technologies are not in wide use at the local level because many news outlets lack the resources or time required to experiment.
In an effort to address many of the needs highlighted in the report, AP will offer a free online curriculum beginning next month, open to all U.S. news outlets. It will feature live, virtual workshops and recorded tutorials. International news outlets will have access to all recorded sessions.
“We will be digging into a range of technologies and focusing on the pain points that AI and automation can help to alleviate at the local level,” said Aimee Rinehart, program manager of AP’s local news AI initiative.
Both the report and online curriculum are part of a two-year project funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help local newsrooms expand the use of AI. The full report is available online.
Register here for the online curriculum.