In five years, this headline will be written by AI

Barling with Dubai Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum.
Updated 12 February 2019

In five years, this headline will be written by AI

  • Artificial intelligence would restore the golden age of journalism, Knowhere news sites co-founder tells World Government Summit
  • Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief emeritus “ says AI will make it easier to work in newsrooms by fighting false news

DUBAI: News headlines across the globe in five years will be drafted by artificial intelligence, Knowhere news site’s co-founder and editor-in-chief said on Monday.

“Artificial intelligence in the newsroom reduces the cost of production, so the individual will not have to pay much for information,” Nathaniel Barling said, adding that AI “would restore the golden age of journalism.”

Speaking at a session on “Automation: Breaking the News” at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Barling said: “Newspapers have lost control because people are now relying on social networks.”

“Newsrooms need to fundamentally transform their revenue models, and re-image the profession of journalism as a whole,” he said.

Barling also spoke of the need for free access to information for all, and said that while paywalls did not affect the quality of journalism, they did allow for more fake news to be spread more easily.

“Paywalls do not hurt the quality of reporting and more consumers are now willing to pay for in-depth long-form content, yet it also raises the question of hiding information from some,” he said.

“Good information is coming to those who pay for it, but this is not the world in which we want to live.”

As AI enters workplaces across several domains, other journalists believe the technology could be detrimental to newsrooms.

Gerard Baker, editor-at-large of The Wall Street Journal, questioned whether artificial intelligence will threaten or strengthen confidence in newsrooms.

“Can we rely on algorithms to settle the big disputes across the globe?” he asked.

However, Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief emeritus, said: “Artificial intelligence will make it easier to work in newsrooms by fighting false news.

“Fake news is not a new phenomenon, and the advent of AI will evolve the newsroom, but not threaten it,” he said.

Mina Al-Oraibi, editor-in-chief of The National in the UAE, said that journalists were being strengthened by AI, which allowed them to focus on the story instead of on sources of information.

“Journalists are now feeling the threat of artificial intelligence, so they are focusing on how much the news is more influential than its accuracy,” she said.

 


Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

Updated 12 November 2019

Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

  • Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at FT
  • Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain

LONDON: Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf will become the first woman to edit the Financial Times in its 131-year history after Lionel Barber, Britain’s most senior financial journalist, said he would step down.
Barber said on Tuesday he would leave in January after 14 years as editor and 34 years at the Nikkei-owned newspaper, which had one million paying readers in 2019, with digital subscribers accounting for more than 75% of total circulation.
Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at the salmon-pink FT and in recent years has sought to increase diversity in the newsroom and attract more female readers, while also becoming the publication’s first Arab editor.
“It’s a great honor to be appointed editor of the FT, the greatest news organization in the world.
“I look forward to building on Lionel Barber’s extraordinary achievements,” said Khalaf, whose earlier writing for Forbes magazine had earned her a small role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Her article described the leading character Jordan Belfort as sounding like a twisted version of Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.
Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain and one of few leading female editors in the world after Jill Abramson left the New York Times.
Before joining the FT in 1995, Khalaf worked at Forbes in New York and earned a master’s at Columbia University and graduated from Syracuse University.
Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Japan’s Nikkei which bought the FT from Pearson in 2015, said in a statement Khalaf was chosen for her sound judgment and integrity.
“We look forward to working closely with her to deepen our global media alliance.”
Nikkei’s Kita described Barber as a strategic thinker and true internationalist, adding he was very sad to see him leave.
“However, both of us agree it is time to open a new chapter,” he said.
During his time as editor, Barber engineered a successful push into online subscription that protected the title as others battled an unprecedented collapse in advertising revenue, as well as managing the move to a new owner.