Australian Media Group Churns Out 3,000 Articles a Week Using AI

Journalists in Limbo as Australian Media Group Churns Out 3,000 Articles a Week Using AI

Australian media company News Corp Australia is reportedly producing 3,000 articles a week using generative AI as the media industry explores ways to harness AI tech to boost their businesses.

While speaking at the World News Media Congress in Taipei, Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australia told attendees that a four-member team on their staff is using generative AI to produce thousands of stories a week on local issues like fuel prices, traffic conditions, and weather among others.

Recently, Google was reportedly assessing an AI tool that is capable of helping journalists to produce articles while AI-powered news anchors are also surfacing in newsrooms.

A human touch

While the content might be developed using AI, a News Corp spokesperson highlighted that all the articles produced using AI are supervised by journalists. The four-man team known as ‘data local,’ focuses on producing local news articles and these have reportedly boosted subscriptions for those readers who are more interested in local news.

According to a report by the Guardian, AI is responsible for generating stories such as “where to find cheapest fuel in Penrith.” The spokesperson also said thousands of AI-generated articles were more of “providing service information”

“For example, for some years now we have used automation to update local fuel prices several times daily as well as daily court lists, traffic and weather, death and funeral notices,” said the spokesperson.

“I’d stress that such information and decisions are overseen by working journalists from the data local team.”

This is not unique to News Corp alone as in January, Buzzfeed announced it considered opportunities around generating news articles using OpenAI’s ChatGPT which drove its stock price. Although the company executed the plan, the content generated was not impressive as the work could never match that produced by humans. Also read: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh See a Flurry of AI News Anchors

The AI bandwagon

In his presentation in Taipei, Miller highlighted how businesses – media included, sought to “address the onslaught of disruption,” from social media, mobile phones, and now generative AI.

“I know there isn’t a media leader here today whose business hasn’t experienced a seismic shift that changed the future course of their business over the years,” Miller said.

While others are bashing the use of generative AI in article production, the Australian media company has attributed some of its success in 2023 to their ‘data local’ team which has made 2023 their best year in a decade. Miller said subscriptions were driven by people looking for local news although they also check out on national news as well as lifestyle.

Miller also told the Taipei Conference that 55% of total subscribers were spurred by hyperlocal mastheads. Over the past two years, the company’s audience has grown to 18.1 million from 14.5 million.

In October, News Corp breached the 1 million digital subscribers mark while digital revenue also grew by 42%. Other media organizations in Australia are also looking at ways of taking advantage of AI although there are fears, not only in newsrooms but across sectors, of possible job losses as AI continues to replace humans in the workplace.

Last month, Bild tabloid in Germany announced that it would save up to 100 million euros potentially leading to a loss of 200 jobs in the hopes of employing AI tools. Overall, the generative AI industry has also garnered a backlash, especially, in the arts and entertainment industry. Recently, the use of AI in movies as extras was also part reason SAG-AFTRA decided to go on a strike among many other grievances they have with Hollywood.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.