By Francesco Marconi published through Columbia University Press - Spring 2019
Will the use of artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms, and smart machines be the end of journalism as we know it—or its savior? In Newsmakers, Francesco Marconi, who has led the development of the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal’s use of AI in journalism, offers a new perspective on the potential of these technologies. He explains how reporters, editors and newsrooms of all sizes can take advantage of the possibilities they provide to develop new ways of telling stories and connecting with readers.
Marconi analyzes the challenges and opportunities of AI through case studies ranging from financial publications using algorithms to write earnings reports to investigative reporters analyzing large data sets to outlets determining the distribution of news on social media. Newsmakers contends that AI can augment—not automate—the industry, allowing journalists to break more news more quickly while simultaneously freeing up their time for deeper analysis. Marshaling insights drawn from first-hand experience, Marconi maps a media landscape transformed by artificial intelligence for the better. In addition to considering the benefits of these new technologies, Marconi stresses the continuing need for editorial and institutional oversight. Newsmakers outlines the important questions that journalists and media organizations should consider when integrating AI and algorithms into their workflow. Whether a journalism student or a seasoned media professional, Marconi’s insight provide much-needed clarity and a practical roadmap for how AI can best serve journalism.
Francesco Marconi is a journalist currently serving as the first R&D Chief at the Wall Street Journal. He previously managed AI strategy at the Associated Press. He also serves as an adjunct instructor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and as an affiliate researcher at the Laboratory of Social Machines at MIT Media Lab.