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Regional publisher launches AI expansion with new job creation

Erin GaskellA regional publisher is expanding its use of artificial intelligence with the creation of a new “AI-assisted” journalism post.

Newsquest is hiring an “AI-assisted reporter” to work on its titles in Scotland, which will see the successful candidate use robot technology to “create national, local, and hyper-local content”.

The reporter, based in Glasgow, will also “apply their traditional journalism skills” in using the technology.

Newsquest’s expansion in its use of AI comes after it recruited AI-powered reporter Erin Gaskell, pictured, who has been given a specific remit to expand the use of AI technology, in the summer.

The company has previously dismissed union concerns about the potential impact on jobs, saying it will instead bring “significant benefits” for journalists.

The project to integrate AI into Newsquest newsrooms is being led by Jody Doherty-Cove, the company’s head of editorial AI, whom Erin will report to.

Jody told HTFP: “We have been running a pilot in Cumbria over the last four months based on how an AI assisted copywriting tool can assist in the editing of contributed copy and sift through the very high volume of press releases newsrooms receive.

“The process and fact checking still requires a lot of human oversight but the pilot has enabled valuable reporter time to be freed up from certain production tasks so more of their time can be spent on high impact local journalism.

“The pilot is now being expanded to a number of other areas.   We firmly believe that human oversight is still crucial in using these tools and we will always ensure that human editorial judgment remains paramount.”

Other recent developments in the regional press industry’s use of such technology include the Nottingham Post using AI to summarise longer stories for its readers. Summaries are checked by a news editor before being posted.

However, a report last month by the London School of Economics has revealed more than 60pc of people in the industry fear the impact AI could have on accuracy, fairness and transparency and other aspects of journalism.

And HTFP has previously exposed the Bournemouth Observer’s use of AI tools to create fake journalist profiles and robot-generated stories.