In their upcoming presentation at the 15th edition of CENTERIS – International Conference on ENTERprise Information Systems on November 10th, 2023, MediaFutures researcher and Work Package 3 (WP3) leader, Bjørnar Tessem, alongside industry co-leader Are Tverberg and senior researcher Njål Borch, will discuss their study on the future technologies of journalism.

CENTERIS serves as a global platform for academics, scientists, practitioners, managers, and solution providers to exchange experiences, share best practices, discuss issues, and showcase the latest developments in Enterprise IT/IS.

In recent years, studies exploring the utilization of information systems in the media industry have been rare. Previous research predominantly focused on revenue models rather than technology investments. This study aims to fill this gap by providing valuable insights for businesses and researchers, offering guidance on understanding the construction of information systems in the media industry.

By asking journalists about their vision for technology in the future newsroom, the authors provide media houses with valuable direction, helping them allocate resources based on their employees’ actual needs.

Artificial intelligence is perhaps the most important topic

Tessem, Tverberg and Borch interviewed 16 experts on how they imagine the future technologies and their use in journalism. Their analysis shows that the most important features are technologies for multi-platform news production, automated news content generation, cloud services for flexible production, content search and content verification.

“The interviews were centered around three main topics. First, artificial intelligence was discussed as a central tool for the future journalist, for example in natural language processing or data journalism. Second, the future production of live news will need new supportive technologies, like cloud services or mobile reporting. Third, the augmenting or virtualization of news stories opens for new formats and presentation forms», they write.

Automated content generation got the most attention in the interviews. Here the interviewees were imaging a tool which supports journalists in writing stories without giving away the full control of the result. Regarding content search, journalists expressed a desire for technology that collects metadata, linking it to media for easy searchability. They also emphasized the need for a verification service, envisioning a centralized database where they can validate content, including authorship, publication source, and broadcast details. Language translation and text summarization are already in use in many media outlets, and one interviewee highlighted the potential of applying these technologies to Norwegian dialects. Addressing the challenge of preserving local dialects, the interviewee stressed the importance of understanding and accurately representing the nuances of regional language variations. The interviewees expressed skepticism regarding synthetic speech generated from text. They highlighted a trust issue associated with this technology, indicating reservations about its reliability and authenticity.

The significance of automated studios and virtualization in media houses has risen, enabling adaptable news presentations with self-moving cameras and background screens. In the presence of the COVID pandemic, the focus shifted to virtualization and IP production, enabling live reporting from diverse locations. Cloud computing services, especially 5G IP and modern cloud technology, have revolutionized journalism, although concerns about source confidentiality and reliance on cloud providers persist. These advancements aim to minimize technical support staff and equipment costs, highlighting the need for modern security technology to protect journalism from external and governmental threats.

The integration of content augmentation technologies, such as graphical overlays and augmented reality, presents challenges due to complexity and costs, especially for specialized events. Augmented reality shows potential but concerns about user investment and its economic value for news delivery arise. Virtual reality faces skepticism due to discomfort and high production costs, limiting widespread adoption. Multiplatform production requires advanced tools for effective story management, catering to diverse user preferences and maintaining editorial control, striking a balance between personalization and curated information.

Highest ranked are tools for production of a story for various plarforms and personal perefence

In summary, the authors assert that journalists are presented with numerous technological opportunities that they sooner or later will have to integrate into their daily work. AI is currently the most inevitable.

“The development of generative AI going on right now already influences the three topics automatic content generation, content search, and content verification. However, generative AI may have consequences also in other approaches to journalism and will most likely enable applications not mentioned by the respondents.” write the authors.

In considering the future, the question of whether news will be solely generated by robots was raised. One respondent contested this idea, highlighting an alternative approach embraced by a news producer: “They have gone completely in the other direction; they have put deep journalism into it. All the text writing is manual, very witty and with humor etc. Because they see that the world is flooded with solutions with automated texts”.

Find the full text paper here.