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.


Arab News at 44: Online Pakistan edition has formed its own regional identity

Updated 20 April 2019

Arab News at 44: Online Pakistan edition has formed its own regional identity

  • Arab News expanded its footprint entering Pakistan in mid 2017
  • Its Pakistan Edition was founded on February 2018 and has been a major success

ISLAMABAD: Arab News’ online Pakistan edition, which launched on Feb. 8, 2018, has established itself as a credible extension of the Riyadh-based newspaper, which today marks its 44th anniversary.
Arab News entered Pakistan as part of the newspaper’s ongoing global and digital expansion, and to tap news from other parts of Asia, hiring skilled journalists and freelance contributors.
An exclusive interview in October 2018 with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was newly elected as prime minister at the time, catapulted Arab News in Pakistan.
Realizing the news potential in the country, Arab News capitalized on its success and set up a bureau, but not before landing more special reports that grabbed the local media’s attention and attracted a larger readership.
The website became the parent organization’s first in a series of country-specific online editions that the newspaper is planning to launch, and is part of its “more digital, more global” strategy.
Former Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, who on Thursday was appointed minister for science and technology, officially inaugurated the newspaper’s Pakistan bureau earlier this year.
Led by award-winning veteran journalist Baker Atyani, and under the guidance of Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas, the team at the Pakistan edition has worked diligently to penetrate the country’s vibrant news market.
As such, followership of the newspaper’s Pakistan social media account has quickly ballooned.
Its online coverage of the first visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan in February was widely praised.
Arab News published special reports and features on the deep-rooted and diversifying ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Also a major hit was Abbas’s exclusive, lengthy sit-down with President Dr. Arif Alvi during the crown prince’s visit.
Another exclusive that garnered a serious online buzz was on Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris offering to build 100,000 housing units in Pakistan.
The Pakistan edition has kept a special focus on business and finance, and has spoken with movers and shakers, including those in the corridors of power.
In August 2018, it exposed the ruling party’s hit single “Rok Sako To Rok Lo Tabdeeli Aayi Re,” produced for the last general election, as being suspiciously similar to a remixed version of the Indian religious song “Bankya Maa Re Nach. The report was instantly picked up by Pakistani media.
Days before the election, Atyani conducted a one-on-one exclusive with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Arab News’ Pakistan edition is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). With the edition’s success, the SRMG is looking to replicate the model across Asia.