How AI can shape future of journalism to enhance personalised reader experience and customer engagement

November 21, 2019
Industry News
Journalism AI Report, featuring input from international media including South China Morning Post, offers insight into understanding industry’s uses of AI  

Improved personalised reader experience and virtual reality interaction are among the changes that artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to bring to news media around the world, according to a new report.

The Journalism AI Report was published in November by the London School of Economic’s (LSE) international journalism think tank, Polis in collaboration with the Google News Initiative.

This report is based on a survey of “the state of mind and state of play” in 71 news organisations in 32 different countries regarding AI, machine learning and other associated technologies.

Staff at  South China Morning Post were invited, along with those at other media companies working with AI, to answer questions about their understanding of AI, how it is used in newsrooms, their views on the wider potential and risks for the news industry and about ethical and editorial implications.

“At the South China Morning Post and in newsrooms around the world, AI is being used to increase user engagement, marketing effectiveness and information quality,” Korey Lee, vice-president of data of SCMP, said.

The report is a first step towards understanding what the news media thinks about AI and what it might do next. Step away from the hype and paranoia for an hour and read what journalists think AI means for them. 

Many media companies, including SCMP, are leveraging data to bring readers smarter, more customised content. 

While we appreciate our readers’ attention, our core desire is to ensure readers are informed and able to perceive the world in a smarter and more nuanced way.

SCMP employs AI to provide users with better personalised experiences while still maintaining a balance of curated stories to minimise filter bubbles. 

We’re not aiming to provide readers with only one side of the story – this is more about curating the format and subject matter, not opinions. For example, we’ve found that international audiences gravitate towards longer stories with more context.

Using AI to provide a personalised experience increases customer engagement, prevents churn and increases loyalty.

“Our vision for AI-powered journalism in the future is that journalists will have more time to spend on the HIGH VALUE elements of journalism, such as INVESTIGATIONS, story-telling, ANALYSIS and insight, while AI will provide the heavy-lifting on mundane tasks,” Lee said. 

“On the reader-side, we expect AI-powered journalism in 10 years’ time to provide personalised recommendations that surprise and delight readers with a more immersive reader experience. 

“AI can enable the reader to interact in VR [virtual reality] with footage from a recent event or perhaps ask natural language questions of an editorial archive with readouts from an AI version of their favourite reporter: one can only imagine the incredible possibilities!”
For more details about the report, please go to the Journalism AI Report website and also check out the video.

About South China Morning Post 

South China Morning Post is a leading global news company that has reported on China and Asia for more than a century. Founded in 1903, SCMP is headquartered in Hong Kong, where it is the city’s newspaper of record, with a growing correspondent staff across Asia and the United States. Its editorial teams are powered by emerging digital technologies to create innovative ways to tell Asia’s most important and compelling stories.

Against the backdrop of shifting discovery and consumption behaviours, SCMP reaches users across distributed media platforms including, smartphone and tablet apps, social media and messaging platforms, as well as our flagship newspaper.  SCMP is also home to Abacus, a digital news brand focused on China's tech industry; Inkstone, a daily news brief for those curious about China's growing impact around the world; and Goldthread, a content platform with a focus on food, travel and culture in China.