One Man & His Blog

AI journalism is here and writing on an iPad

AI journalism is here and writing on an iPad

The robots! They're writing! Do you hear me? THEY'RE WRITING OUR STORIES!

Yesterday we talked of job cuts, and the fall of print editions. Today? The rise of AI tools writing stories.

But that might not be quite as bad news as it looks at first…

A glimpse of AI-assisted journalism's future

Read a recent article on CNET? There's a fair chance that an AI engine created it:

CNET, a massively popular tech news outlet, has been quietly employing the help of "automation technology" — a stylistic euphemism for AI — on a new wave of financial explainer articles, seemingly starting around November of last year.

So, is there human input? It seems so:

"This article was generated using automation technology," reads a dropdown description, "and thoroughly edited and fact-checked by an editor on our editorial staff."

This is going to move fast. We'll see more and more copy start off generated by AI tools like ChatGPT, and then improved and developed by journalists. The tech is here, and won't be uninvented, so we need to figure out how to live with it.

In theory, using it to do the grunt work on fairly basic, formulaic service journalism, freeing up humans to spend more time researching and interviewing? That could be a good thing.

Talking of AI, it's time to start listening…

Apple is using machine learning to deliver audio versions of the books sold in its Books app.

I suspect that cheap access to machine learning-based audio narration tools will make widespread delivery of written articles in audio form a common part of the industry in the next couple of years.

AI-Narrated Audiobooks Now Available in Apple Books
Apple has now launched Apple Books digital narration, offering a new way for publishers to automatically generate high-quality AI-narrated audio from...

Snippets from the tech winter

In some of the other work I do, we're spending time thinking about the “tech winter”, the downturn that's hit the once-booming digital industry. The crypto/Web3 market has been particularly hit, with values crashing, and frauds exposed. The biggest, perhaps, has been the fall of Sam Bankman-Fried and his company FTX.

Yet, even as the business was collapsing, people were doing softball interviews with him. As John Naughton asks, why did the media go so easy on him?

The biggest question prompted by this apology tour is: why did so many apparently serious media outfits let him get away with it? The interview questions were often softball ones, occasionally toe-curlingly so. Some interviewers confessed apologetically that they knew nothing about the complex businesses he had run and allowed themselves to be bemused by the incomprehensible bullshit he was emitting. Often, they seemed hypnotised, as many otherwise sensible people had been before the crash, by this tech wunderkind with big hair and baggy shorts who had, until recently, been promising to give away his phenomenal wealth to good causes, while in fact he had seemingly been presiding over the vaporisation of billions of dollars of other people’s savings.

My guess? The combination of general ignorance of how Web3 works amongst reporters, coupled with a desire not to end up like those journos who wrote the internet off as a “fad” 20 years ago, means that the crypto world has never got the scrutiny it richly deserves.

The robotically positive language of LinkedIn

Even as the wider economy collapses around us, everything on LinkedIn is Relentlessly. Upbeat. 🙏🏻

This is a lovely piece exploring the weird tone of voice that social conformity has made the default on the platform:

More than any other social media site, LinkedIn requires its users to flatten the broad spectrum of human emotions into something relentlessly aspirational. The glass is always half-full, if not overflowing, even if you can't remember the last time you tasted a drop of water.
So you’ve been fired. Here’s how not to post about it on LinkedIn.
Can you post about being laid off without seeming like an unhinged automaton? Comedian Patrick Marlborough ponders getting fired in the age of LinkedIn.

A journalist's guide to the iPad

For years now, the iPad has been my preferred writing tool. Bill Bennett has put together a fantastic guide to using it as a writing and research tool. Well worth your time:

A practical guide to writing on the iPad
Apple didn’t design the original iPad for writing. It was a device for reading or viewing media, not creating it. Over the years it has become a great portable writing tool. Many writers find it is better than a laptop. Here we look at why the iPad could be the

No, I don't want your effin' guest post

A little SEO warning from me earlier today:

The case against guest posting
Beware emails offering free posts. The cost might be much higher than you think…

Funding corner: cross-border journalism

Job corner: social media editors

Social Media Editor - Daily Mirror & Daily Star
It is a really exciting time to join the Reach family. Due to our sustained growth we are now looking for a Social Media Editor to join our social team.As a Social Media Editor, you will be managing social accounts for one of Reach’s National brands - the Daily Mirror or Daily Star to drive web tra…

                           


Written by

Adam Tinworth   Adam Tinworth

Adam has been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 25. He currently works as a consultant and trainer, helping people do better, more engaged online journalism.


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