Do journalists need to worry about Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated content taking their jobs? Here are five areas that journalists can excel at and where AI generated content is poor.
In-depth and investigative reporting AI content is typically designed to generate basic information or summaries, like this blog post. AI is not well-suited to complex or investigative reporting. By focusing on these areas, journalists can provide value and expertise that AI content cannot match.
Providing human perspective and analysis AI content is not capable of providing the human perspective or analysis that is unique to journalists. By highlighting their personal experiences and insights, journalists can differentiate themselves from AI content and provide value to their readers.
Using multimedia and interactive formats AI content is typically limited to text-based formats. Journalists can use multimedia and interactive formats to create engaging and immersive experiences that AI content cannot match.
Having a personal brand In a world where information is easily accessible, journalists can differentiate themselves by building a personal brand and audience. A loyal and engaged following is less likely to be swayed by AI content.
Collaborating with experts AI content is limited by the data and information it has been trained on. Journalists can collaborate with experts to provide a more comprehensive, accurate and current view of the world. The Dot Star Media journalist enquiry service can help journalists find expert sources from businesses, charities and universities.
Like many, I spent some time this weekend playing with ChatGPT and being amazed by its ability to spit out passable ‘content’ on pretty much any subject. Taking the area that Dot Star Media operates in I asked ChatGPT for five reasons why businesses should be responding to journalist enquiries, or media requests, found on Twitter.
It came up with these reasons – all wrapped in the robotic ChatGPT style:
1. To maintain positive relationships with the media. 2. To influencing the narrative around their brand. 3. To help build trust with customers and stakeholders 4. To stay informed, and ‘keep their fingers on the pulse’. 5. To take advantage of opportunities to showcase products, services and expertise.
It’s not a bad list.
The temptation for using AI to mass produce content for SEO purposes is obvious. Indeed, I used AI generated content to support this blog post. But, where will all this lead? One can imagine the web becoming stuffed (more than it already is) with bland AI generated content.
OpenAI assures us that as a Large Language Model (LLM) it can’t actually generate anything original.
If LLM training data itself draws upon AI generated content is there a risk we end up with an ever-worsening web of self-reflecting, endlessly mirrored, AI generated content?
In a world of SEOs and marketers using AI generated content to boost rankings, search engines will want to distinguish derivative AI generated content from the genuinely original content that was created by humans.
OpenAI ‘thinks’ that doing this will be tricky, especially as machine generated text can be ‘humanised’ by a real-living editor.
In a positive note, Paul Graham suggests that in a sea of mediocrity, the “price” of good writing could go up.
There may be parallels here with artisan or organic food. Artisan produce commands a premium price and is available in fewer locations. Maybe we’ll have a class of ‘artisan writing’ for work that’s been lovingly produced by organic humans. Troublingly, artisan food is out of reach to those who can’t afford it. Maybe we’ll see similar barriers emerging for expensively produced human content. Expect more and higher paywalls around the most exclusive and highest quality original content.
Whatever the future brings, Dot Star Media is here to support human journalists. Our journalist enquiry service connects journalists with thousands of human contributors – who are ready and waiting to support journalists do their work creating fresh and originalwriting.
Dot Star Media ‘gold’ tier customers can receive their journalist request notifications in Slack.
Having your journalist requests sent to a Slack channel might work better than email alerts for a couple of reasons: Delivery to Slack is quicker than email and it’s easier for your team to collaborate on the best way to respond to a request.
How to setup Slack for Dot Star Media journalist requests
First of all, decide where you want to see your journalist request alerts. From the Slack desktop application or website choose an existing channel, or create a new Slack channel.
Next, give your new channel a name and description and press the ‘create’ button. You can invite colleagues to the Slack channel that will receive journalist requests now, or later on.
Once your new channel exists the next step is to create a Slack app. Visit https://api.slack.com/apps and press the ‘create new app’ button.
Choose the Create an app ‘From scratch’ option
Your new app will need a name. In this example I called our app ‘Dot Star Media alerts’. Then pick the workspace that contains your channel for receiving journalists requests. Press the ‘Create App’ button.
On the next page, called ‘Building Apps for Slack’, select ‘Incoming Webhooks’
Then, if not already activated, switch the ‘Activate Incoming Webhooks’ to ‘On’. Depending on how you are currently using Slack in your organisation, this may already be selected.
The next step is to press ‘Add New Webhook to Workspace’
Choose which channel to send journalist request alerts to, and press ‘allow’.
You’ll then be taken to a page that provides you with your new Webhook URL. Copy the Webhook URL to your clipboard and head over to the Dot Star Media website
On the Dot Star Media website, from the navigation menu, click ‘Organisation’ and then ‘Configure channels’
This will open the ‘Distribution Channels’ page. Check the ‘Slack webhook enabled’ check box and paste in the Webhook URL from your Slack app into the webhook url box and Save Settings.
And now, your journalist request alerts should feed into your Slack channel as they happen.
There are quite a few steps here. Please contact us for support as required.
Dot Star Media technology monitors tweets posted to #journorequest and other related hashtags on Twitter. We identify which tweets are requests from journalists and send prompt alerts to subscribers – by email, Teams or Slack.
Frequency of hashtags appearing in journalist requests can give an indication of what subjects are in journalist minds.
Many themes are seasonal or recurring. Knowing what typically gets talked about through the course of a (normal) year can help with campaign planning.
Here’s a month-by-month look at top hashtags used by verified journalists over the last few months. I’ll continue to update this post for the next few months.
For the third month running #CostOfLivingCrisis was the most frequent hashtag used by journalists posting journalist requests to #JournoRequest (and related hashtags) on Twitter. Related to cost of living issues are call-outs for data and case studies on the consequences of increasing #mortgage costs. Journalists looking for #Christmas related content is standard seasonal fare for October.
#costoflivingcrisis and related hashtags, like #mortgage continue to be front of mind for journalists posting requests in September 2022.
#costofliving, #costoflivingcrisis and #energycrisis were frequent topics on Twitter’s #journorequest in August 2022
In July 2022 the dominant themes indicated by hashtags used by journalists posting requests to #journorequest were sport with #euro2022 #lionessess and #commonwealthgames2022 prominent. Travel chaos that occurred at Dover (#dover and #doverchaos) at the start of most school summer holidays, and in the entertainment – again, #loveisland
June 2022 saw requests looking for comment on the impact of rail workers strikes. We also had the annual Pride month and the much anticipated return of Glastonbury festival generating media requests.
Based on hashtag analysis of journalist requests the Cost of Living crisis was a dominant theme for May 2022. The #platinumjubilee is a less than once-in-a lifetime event and is getting plenty of journalists requesting contributions around jubilee themed events and activities.
Cost of living crisis and the HRT shortage emerged as topics in April 2022.
Seasonal themes around Travel, and Valentines Day.
Covid and Omicron were unwanted themes in December with NHS and Mental Health featuring regularly as related topics.
November sees Black Friday which is an annual event in the UK now, usually occurring on the fourth Friday in November.
October 2021 saw the COP26 climate conference, with Christmas and Travel themes also strong.
In the early Autumn the data from #journorequest shows journalists turning their attention to Christmas stories, with product reviews, gift guides and Christmas stories.
When starting on a new job, or patch, journalists often invite suggestions for stories to cover. This makes the moment that a journalist takes on a new role an opportune time to pitch. To help public relations people track journalist job changes we’re maintaining and sharing a collection of journalist ‘job move’ tweets.
Many subscribers are successfully using our keyword filtering system to receive fewer, more relevant journalist request alerts. Sometimes we see fairly complex phrases, of three, four or more words being used in subscriber keyword lists. These more complex phrases are unlikely to match what journalists write in their requests – and so will return few matches.
To provide guidance when entering keywords we’ve added a contextual warning banner that pops up when a complex keyword is entered.
Some related posts on keyword filtering of journalist requests
The Dot Star Media journalist request service is one year old. We’re proud to have helped journalists find sources and subscribers earn media coverage. Over 1,000 media relations professionals at PR agencies, businesses, charities, and universities are receiving journalist requests via Dot Star Media. Here are some testimonials.
We’ve enjoyed bringing innovation into the journalist request space. Here’s a round-up of some of the developments from our first year.
Super fast automated #journorequest alerts (Jan 2021)
Speed of journalist request alert delivery matters. Busy journalists with looming deadlines will often go with the first (good) responses they receive. Thanks to automated text scanning and classification of journalist requests most of the alerts we distribute are received by subscribers within seconds of being posted. This gives Dot Star Media customers an advantage in responding quickly.
Journalist requests in Microsoft Teams, or Slack (Jan 2021)
Some subscribers use Slack or Teams to manage workflow. Depending on how your organisation operates, receiving media request notifications in a Slack or Teams channel can offer some advantages over receiving alerts by email: delivery to Slack is quicker than email and it’s easier for your team to collaborate on the best way to respond to a request.
Journalist request keyword filtering (Jan 2021)
Keyword filtering means that niche businesses and single issue campaigning organisations can receive relevant journalist requests without being distracted by alerts that are irrelevant to them. Keyword filtering of requests benefits journalists too because it means a wider pool of sources find value in monitoring journalist requests.
Journalist request digests (March 2021)
In March 2021 we added Journalist Enquiry Digests. These emails group requests – still filtered by topics and keywords – into a single periodic alerts sent at pre-determined intervals. Digests alerts look like this:
What sort of tech company would we be without using a bit of AI? When entering keywords for keyword filtering, we’re using a Semantic Network Robot for finding words that are related to the original keyword. This is useful for building a keyword list because it’s quite hard to predict what words a journalist will use in their requests.
Journalist request submit form (May 2021)
In May 2021 we added a journalist request submission form for journalists. This means we can support journalists who want to send more detailed briefs than Twitter allows or prefer to avoid the public nature of social media.
Block individual senders (Jun 2021)
For those that monitor #journorequest on Twitter the ‘mute’ option is useful for hiding Tweets from twitter handles that are not relevant to their work. We’ve added similar functionality to Dot Star Media journalist request alerts. It’s easy to exclude any individual sender from an alert feed.
Enquiry search (June 2021)
Sometimes it helps to look back. The enquiry search page provides a keyword search of historic journalist requests. If you want to find a list of journalists who have recently requested input on a particular subject, enquiry search can help.
See the effect of keyword filters (Aug 2021)
This development came out of a conversation with a customer who wanted to toggle their filters on and off. The customer wanted to which requests their keyword filters were removing from their feed, and to scan the unfiltered request stream for possible new keyword filters to add.
Advanced filtering with word boundaries (Sep 2021)
For more precision on keyword filtering we enabled regular expressions on the filters. In the image below the word ‘ai’ is given a word boundary, performing a whole word search. This stops alerts on ‘airport’, but continues to alert on ‘AI’. Occasionally very useful.
See a journalist’s previous requests (Oct 2021)
We added a page that gathers together an individual journalist’s previous requests. Looking through earlier requests helps in understanding a journalist’s style and the subjects they have previously covered.
Recent article links on journalist request alerts (Dec 2021)
We improved the journalist information links section on journalist request alerts with the addition of links to Muck Rack ‘recent articles’ pages.
We’re including links in our journalist request alerts to journalists’ recent article pages on Muck Rack. Reviewing a journalists’ recent articles can provide information on their typical content and writing style. Familiarity with a journalist’s work can help when tailoring a pitch. For example, you might be able to see how a journalist has used quotes from spokespeople, or the way in which brands have been mentioned, or if the outlet the journalist is writing for has provided outbound links.
Recent article links on alert emails
You’ll find the links to recent articles in the ‘Links’ section on the journalist request email alert. Recent article links also appear in the Slack and Microsoft Teams journalist request alerts.
After reviewing a few possible options we decided to link to Muck Rack’s public journalist profiles because they provide recent article coverage for most of the UK and Irish journalists who are posting journalist requests.
Journalist request: information links
Most Dot Star Media journalist request alerts include four ‘additional information’ links.
Working on media coverage for your organisation or client? Here are six reasons why monitoring #journorequest can help you get better results. If you haven’t got time for all 6 reasons, the super reason is: #journorequest is where journalists are.
1. Journalists at high profile media outlets use #journorequest
The appeal of Twitter to journalists is obvious. A journorequest tweet is a quick and effective way to access a massive network of sources. People know people and will tag in experts they know. ‘Twitter magic’ creates interesting and serendipitous connections – helping journalists produce original content. These are the most frequently mentioned outlets from the biographies of the thousands of journalists using #journorequest.
2. Journalists choose #journorequest because it’s so fast
One of the reasons journalists choose #journorequest is because it’s fast. When all a journalist wants to finish a piece is a quick chat and a short quote, then using Twitter as a rapid response service is helpful. Here are examples of journalists using #journorequest to look for quick comment in ‘the next hour’. All were high profile media coverage opportunities.
3. Journalists work odd hours; #journorequest is open all hours
In the real world journalists work odd hours and shifts. They send requests in the evening and at weekends. Granted, this might not be ideal for work-life balance, but having a #journorequest monitoring service working in the background can give peace of mind that you can see relevant media opportunities whenever you’re at your desk (or smartphone).
4. Requests can be delivered to your inbox
You don’t have to be constantly monitoring Twitter yourself to find your journalist requests. Tools like IFTTT or Zapier can be used to monitor Twitter and trigger alerts. It’s possible to have tweets populate a Google Sheet. An easy and reliable way to keep up with #journorequest is to subscribe to Dot Star Media and have requests come straight to your inbox (or Slack or Microsoft Teams). As part of our journalist enquiry service we track the hashtag and deliver notifications for requests from verified journalists. You’ll also receive the requests that journalists submit directly on our submit form.
5. Tweeted requests are concise
Brevity is highly valued by anyone who has to scan hundreds of media requests every day. Twitter lends itself to brevity and 280 characters is usually enough space for a journalist to say what they need. Journalists are pretty good at saying what they want to say within finite word limits.
6. You can filter #journorequest to receive requests relevant to your sector
#journorequest is a popular hashtag full of media requests in many sectors. Dot Star Media classifies requests into topics. This means you can receive sector based requests, without noise. Here are the topics, showing request volumes over a 6 month period.
As well as classifying requests in to topics, Dot Star Media lets you filter requests by keyword. Keyword filtering works particularly well for single issue specialists, or niche organisations who value relevance over the volume of requests.
It’s just a number, same as every other number. But this one feels good because it’s a round number. Dot Star Media has reached 1,000 confirmed recipients for its journalist enquiry service. Here’s a week by week chart showing recipient growth since our January 2021 kick-off: