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Former editorial director aims to harness AI as ‘force for good’

Jeremy Clifford 2023A former editorial director now running his own media consultancy has launched a project to help publishers use AI “ethically and responsibly.”

Jeremy Clifford, former editorial boss of Johnston Press and then Archant, has helped set up the AI Collective in partnership with digital transformation expert Dietmar Schantin.

It aims to help publishers harness generative AI as a “force for good,” working with publishers to improve the reach, breadth and depth of their content.

Jeremy, pictured, who now runs his own business Chrysalis Transformations, wants to see publishers integrating AI capabilities across the floor, rather than leaving it to a few specialists.

Posting on LinkedIn, he said: “Back in the early 2000s and 2010s we failed to have a joined-up approach to how digital transformation should be integrated – and some publishers – worryingly – have still not made it.

“Now we are in the AI age and our industry is plodding forward while the technology and opportunities are racing ahead – once again giving the tech platforms the ascendancy in how our content is being used.

“There is a risk the “wait-and-see” and cautious approach will lead to developing specialists in our newsrooms, instead of working out how to integrate AI capabilities across the floor – in an, ethical, efficient and effective way to benefit our journalism.

“Our new AI-Collective will help you to bring about a safe and new transition to your newsroom, whether you just want to know how to get started, or want support in a guided consultancy approach.”

The Collective offers a supported program of training and consultancy to help publishers get started with AI, embed it into their workflows and keep pace with the introduction of new tools and models.

It is also working with press watchdog IPSO to highlight how AI can be used to enhance journalism and also how, if not understood properly, it can damage the standards of trust and quality that the industry relies on.

Jeremy, a former editor of the Yorkshire Post, added: “Media companies have an opportunity to utilise AI in ways that augment quality reporting and access to information. But they need support establishing how to do this responsibly and ethically.

“We have worked with publishing companies across Europe, helping them with their digital transformations and structures. We bring that experience now to provide expert guidance on what AI systems work best and, critically, how to use them effectively.”