Editors Share Insights on AI, Data and Audiences

Alvaro Liuzzi
2 min readMay 2, 2024

The latest INMA World Congress of News Media held in London included a panel where a group of editors discussed how newsrooms are adapting their business models in the digital era, focusing the conversation on the strategic use of data, artificial intelligence, and audience expansion techniques.

The Use of Data: A Balancing Act

The importance of data in optimizing content distribution and maximizing revenue was a recurring theme. Isabel Russ, Editor-in-Chief of Vorarlberger Nachrichten, highlighted its strategic value: “I love data; you can measure anything… it’s so powerful.” In her newsroom, the analysis of each story is meticulous, examining everything from the publication duration to the demographic profile of the readers.

In contrast, Tony Gallagher, Executive Editor of The Times, and Sophie Huet from Agence France-Presse (AFP), shared their reservations about reliance on data. Gallagher detailed how data can guide but not dominate the editorial agenda, commenting: “It’s important that we are not dictated by data. If we were, we’d be leading every day with a story about Prince Harry.” Huet, on her part, mentioned that AFP, due to its B2B model, follows a more qualitative approach in using data.

Artificial Intelligence, a Complementary Tool

Artificial intelligence was mentioned as a valuable tool but not as a replacement for human ingenuity. Isabel Russ shared that everyone in her newsroom has an OpenAI business account and is encouraged to use it. Gallagher also noted his cautious optimism towards AI, particularly in its capability to generate headlines and translate content.

Challenges of Audience Expansion

During the panel, the need to adapt audience expansion strategies to new generations was also addressed. Gallagher highlighted The Times’ efforts to attract a younger audience through social media and radio. Alex Wood Morton, from Fortune, emphasized the importance of millennials as a key demographic target: “Millennials are the largest generational group in the workforce right now. We are trying to lean into that.”

Conclusions

The panel emphasized that while newsrooms become more adept at using digital tools and data, the key to success lies in maintaining a balance. It’s not just about adopting technology, but integrating it in a way that complements and enhances human judgment, and not replacing it. This balance will be crucial for maintaining the integrity and depth of journalism in the digital age.

Furthermore, the discussions highlighted that strategies to attract audiences must be flexible and adapt to the changing dynamics of media consumption, especially among younger people. Technology, adaptability, and a human-centric approach will undoubtedly be the pillars on which future newsrooms build their success.

More info: ::: Data, AI, audience expansion techniques drive high-performance newsrooms in the digital era

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Alvaro Liuzzi

Periodista | Consultor en Medios y Proyectos Digitales | Profesor en la UNLP (entre otras) | Editor del newsletter #Redacciones5G