Will the use of artificial intelligence, algorithms, and smart machines be the end of journalism as we know it—or its savior? Francesco Marconi, who has led the development of the
Associated Press and
Wall Street Journal’s use of AI in journalism, offers a new perspective on the potential of these technologies.
Francesco Marconi is a journalist currently serving as the first R&D chief at the
Wall Street Journal. He previously managed AI strategy at the Associated Press. He also serves as an adjunct instructor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and as an affiliate researcher at the Laboratory of Social Machines at MIT Media Lab.
Mark Hansen, Columbia University:
In an era when machine learning is being applied to optimize decisions in countless other industries,
Newsmakers examines the richness and complexity of using these tools to make dynamic, personalized, and impactful choices about the stories we offer our readers. For Marconi, it is not journalism automated by computation, but rather journalism augmented. Machine learning changes the ways a reporter sees the world around her, pieces a story together, and builds an audience in a complex information ecosystem.
Newsmakers presents a view of journalism that is explicitly iterative, experimental and collaborative.
Carrie Brown, City University of New York: Marconi’s book will help journalists start thinking about some of the exciting ways AI can improve and streamline their work and how to implement these new technologies in the newsroom. If we are going to create a sustainable future for journalism, this is exactly what we need to be thinking about: putting audience needs and rapid iteration at the center of everything we do.
Deb Roy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Newsmakers explores human-machine collaboration in the future of news. Marconi offers a practical perspective of how journalists can be directly involved in training, testing and deploying algorithms. A valuable guide for journalists who want to stay in the drivers’ seat of making news and leverage emerging AI-powered tools to unlock new storytelling opportunities.
Charlie Beckett, London School of Economics: If you are a newsmaker or anyone interested in the future of journalism then this book is the perfect guide. Marconi is at the cutting edge of using AI technologies in the newsroom and one of the most intelligent strategic analysts of how they can help journalism survive and thrive in our radically changing digital media age. From news gathering to connecting to audiences he shows the plethora of opportunities and challenges presented by this complex set of tools and systems. If you are excited by or fearful of the prospect of the 'robot' age of news, this book will give you the facts and ideas to grapple with this rapidly evolving field.
Jay Hamilton, Stanford University: One part history, one part management strategy, and one part vision, Newsmakers provides readers with a detailed roadmap of how journalism workflows and content will change through the AI inspired process of iterative journalism. The result will be coverage that adjusts to readers’ information needs in real-time and increases the scale and scope of reporting.
Jay Rosen, New York University: Francesco Marconi has it right. Artificial intelligence will augment—not automate—the news industry. Human judgment will be enhanced, not replaced. When you finish this book you do not fear the AI future in newsrooms. You have the tools to wonder what we will soon be able to do.