Research plan

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.

WP1 explores the teams that develop and employ journalistic AI in newsrooms. It analyses who the teams consist of, what products the teams are developing, and what normative discussions are present in these processes.

WP2 maps out journalistic actors’ expectations regarding the development and possible futures of AI in journalism. These conceptions are analyzed to identify gaps and potentials in relation to journalistic norms, especially 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.

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