As we wind up our discovery journey into the media projects that took part in the Stars4Media Second Edition as programmes’ beneficiaries, we wind up on the topic that is as relevant a theme for our beneficiaries as it is for the entire media, and not only: Artificial Intelligence (AI). How can the media leverage the opportunities offered by AI? The variety of the innovations showcased in this article mean there is no straightforward answer. Yet, what all our beneficiaries agree on is on: it offers an opportunity to reach even a wider audience by making media more inclusive. Let’s discover it below.
For Christos Danezis from Cypriot Sigmalive, ‘The main goal was to introduce AI technology in the newsroom in order to support the efforts of journalists towards more creative, diversified and original content writing. This might increase the value proposition for the audience, and make them more willing to pay for subscription services. The fact that Stars 4 Media supports such initiatives made this possible for us as we cannot afford to build our own AI technology.’ Christos’s initiative ‘AI to Enhance Creativity in News Writing’ was implemented together with the UK partner JECT.AI .
‘There are a lot of reasons why people need to hear our articles instead of reading them’ says Joffrey Ricome from Courrier international (Groupe Le Monde) (FR), continuing ‘The most obvious is of course to help visually impaired people to access information from our websites. That’s why we want to use artificial intelligence to convert our articles into a user-friendly audio format.’ Yet, he insists the innovation he has been working on with the Belgian partner La Libre Belgique from the IPM Group goes beyond inclusivity. ‘Reading with your ears’ applies directly to the needs of a modern user. ‘We are not considering only visually impaired people‘ says Joeffrey, continuing ’But we are also considering people who need to move and can’t sit in front of a screen in order to read. People have time stuck in their car during traffic or standing up in the metro. That’s why we believe that more and more people will need to use audio in order to nourish themselves with information.’
‘SMART Podcasts / Accordion’ initiative follows a similar line of thought. Initiative by British BWLB and Belgium Bulle media is in words of Any Taylor, project initiator ‘The goal of ‘SMART Podcasts (Accordion)’ is to give listeners never before seen levels of control and convenience when listening to podcasts.’ Explaining further how, Andy highlights ‘Accordion uses both human and AI interactions to endlessly re-version audio, enabling the listener to control duration without losing structure, tone or listenability. Bwlb had invented the prototype technology but was looking for a content partner. Europod – Bulle Media’s podcast platform – was perfect due its high quality content and innovative spirit.’ And the first results are coming in ‘Podcast site www.accordion.live was a hit with the audience, receiving an average Net Promoter Score (how likely to recommend) of 9.2 out of 10’ Andy proudly concludes.
‘Videre AI: Next generation video understanding for news content’ is an innovation by Design AI GmbH (DE), European Pressphoto Agency, epa. (DE) and AGENCIA EFE S. A (ES). This initiative has the mission to leverage the potential of video data via cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence via “Videre AI”, a video analysis tool. The partners are currently working on putting into practice the goal of achieving superior video tagging as well as video captioning capabilities for news videos, thereby bringing additional value to news outlets.
Marina Ekroos from Frameright (FI) says her initiative goal was ‘ […] to find the best ways to make customizable image display control AIs available for news organizations.’ Together with partners Czech News Agency CTK they try to answer the question of ‘Artificial intelligence in photojournalism, can it work?’. ‘The initiative’s main objective was to evaluate the unknown impact artificial intelligence can have and may cause for visual journalism and to find approaches for more sustainable machine learning systems’ says Marina, continuing, ‘We do this by leveraging technologies and user interfaces that let us better understand the datasets and how they affect the results.‘ Both organizations strongly agree on the importance of discussing everyday visual journalism and identifying ways to improve the tools for transparent and trustworthy visual journalism that engages the viewer through quality and effectiveness.
‘Vocento has been shifting its business model towards subscriptions, which means moving from an advertising approach to one focused on the user. The creation of quality and personalized content to keep users interacting with our brands is one of our key objectives with this initiative’ says Saura López Leal from Vocento Group (ES) about her initiative ‘Vocento & Cruncho join forces: Hyperlocal tourism content in Spain powered by AI’. ‘Through the Stars4media program we had the opportunity to develop this cross-border project with the Swedish startup Cruncho, being able to integrate its powerful city-guide technology in Diario SUR’ says Saura, continuing ‘Through this new product and thanks to artificial intelligence, we can offer our users live, collaborative and personalized content in entertainment and gastronomy.’
‘Article 7 Intelligence – Helping Newsrooms across Europe close the Accountability Ga’ is an innovation by Gap Article 7 (BE), IDA GmbH and Innovations- und Digitalagentur (DE). Project leader Garvin Walshe says ‘At Article7 we’re building a search engine for political statements.Our democracies are in trouble because of information overload. With so much content to sift through, the news cycle moves on before journalists can hold authorities to account. Our engine, based on “semantic search” AI, dramatically speeds up the research process allowing journalists to engage accurately with the political debate at a speed today’s technology requires.’
And how does this initiative fit with the Stars4Media? Garvan says ‘ We initially conceived of our initiative for keeping track of “populist style” political communication where politicians deliberately “flood the zone” in order to overwhelm the media’s ability to hold them to account. Our discussions and engagement with journalists from multiple European countries through Stars4Media convinced us that they would find a broader search facility, which could be applied to all political statements from across the political spectrum more useful, so we generalised our system so that it could be used to search statements by all kinds of political figures.’ He concludes ‘Our innovative technology speeds up journalists’ work and increases their accuracy, thereby improving the quality of public debate and increasing the productivity of journalistic staff.’
This article is part of a series of articles aiming to promote the Stars4Media Second Edition Beneficiaries. Discover the full list of beneficiaries and their area of media innovations. Learn more about the first macro-theme presented Constructive Journalism and the innovations tackling the topic here, Data & Constructive Journalism here and New Revenue Models here. Other featured themes explore New frontiers of journalism as well as Education, Empowerment & Engagement through media innovations.