The aim of this project is to produce novel and holistic insights into the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) into news work, specifically focusing on how AI related processes transform and reshape the norms, ethics, and practices of journalism. The project strives to provide insight on the actors involved in teams deploying editorial AI, as well as providing a non-deterministic, normative, and critical understanding of the technology in newsrooms.
The study is divided into two work packages which aim to examine AI in journalism practice from two different perspectives: the editorial uses of journalistic AI and the normative futures of journalistic AI.
The main research questions are:
Work Package 1:
i) What editorial practices and processes are the AI technologies intended, or already deployed, to aid?
ii) What actors are involved in developing journalistic AI and what roles and relations characterize their work?
iii) What ethical issues and concerns around journalistic norms arise in the development and adoption processes and what issues are absent?
Work Package 2:
i) How do journalists and other AI-related journalistic actors anticipate the normative development and use of journalistic AI in the medium-term future?
ii) How do these projections manifest in the work and practices under development of AI teams in newsrooms?
iii) How can journalistic AI be developed and re-imagined so that it would better fulfill journalistic norms, and in particular the norm of public service?
The project builds on the social construction of technology (SCOT). The approach to SCOT in this project is complemented by relational sociology and the sociology of expectations. The social construction of AI technologies is approached through constitutive journalistic norms. The conceptions and future projections on AI of the examined actors are analyzed and reflected against these journalistic norms.
To answer the research questions, a set of qualitative, mixed methods will be used: qualitative theme interviews, focus group discussions, participant observation, and document analysis. The empirical focus is on technologically advanced, selected Finnish and Swedish legacy newsrooms and their news professionals and other AI-related actors. All the newsrooms studied are in the forefront of the development work and use of journalistic AI.