From the steam presses of the early nineteenth century onward, automation has been a transformative feature of the news and media industry. In the last few decades, once-novel technologies have become ordinary: search engines find newsworthy information, recommender systems curate it, automated markets buy and sell advertising, and social media platforms are managed by content moderation and curation systems.

Although humans remain involved in this process, they work alongside and within automated systems.

A better public understanding of this current phase of media automation is essential. In a fast-moving landscape, there is much that policymakers, industry participants, researchers and citizens need to know.

This report:

  • Describes the latest phase of media automation, driven by recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Outlines four critical examples of the use of AI and automation in news and media
  • Provides a basic explanation of how these systems work at the technical level and show how they operate in context, drawing on examples and case studies across news and media
  • Maps emerging challenges associated with the use of each technology across the news and media environment, drawing on peer-reviewed research from multiple disciplines
  • Looks ahead to the rise of generative AI

Report Highlights

The four critical examples of automation in news and media and their emerging challenges discussed in the report.

Report Overview

Where to from here?

ADM+S researchers are actively working on these problems. The broad outline signals where future research is heading in this area. We see a greater need for investment in research and evaluation tools and infrastructure, a growing focus on the importance of generative AI, as well as the deployment of innovative methods such as social ‘cyber range’. Of course, these are tasks for the broader research community.

By fostering collaboration among researchers, industry partners and civil society organisations, we aim to create a robust ecosystem of informed stakeholders dedicated to shaping the future of news and media.

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