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How AI Will Disrupt Your Local News—and What That Means for Journalism

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A leading independent non-profit in the public interest just outlined how AI will completely disrupt your local news.

The Partnership on AI is a major AI nonprofit founded by firms like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Its goal is to research and share best AI practices throughout the industry.

In 2022, they talked to nine experts on how AI will transform the local news landscape.

The takeaways should be required reading for any media or marketing professional. They also provide insight into how you can use AI to communicate better with any audience.

In one example, Google product manager Natalie Gross shares what AI news could look like:

Imagine you wake up in 2026 in your home city. The first thing that greets you on your device is a tailored news summary hyper-specific to you.

  • First, you get an algorithmically assembled alert that your bus line is delayed. This alert comes from a merger of transport data and your geo-location data.
  • Next, you see an advertisement from your favorite local concert venue. A band you like is playing tonight. Tickets are 10% off.
  • A reader-reported alert comes up next. There was a car break-in very close to your apartment last night. But AI adds context to the alert: Overall, car break-ins are actually going down in your area.
  • Lastly, you get served an article on a topic you read a lot about. It's about local air quality. Not only that, it's written by your favorite journalist. And AI pairs it with an interview on the topic recently given by your city councilman.

Make no mistake:

AI is going to change how we learn about our communities and consume news.

Here’s what that means for you and your company. 👇

Why It Matters

In Episode 23 of the Marketing AI Show, Marketing AI Institute founder/CEO Paul Roetzer and I break down AI’s impact on local news and journalism.

  • AI’s impact on news will be wide-ranging. “The tech is coming one way or another. It’s the human impact that worries me,” says Roetzer. “I don’t need a human to do any of what [Google is describing in local news]. All that data can be generated and processed as text or voice with zero human interaction. There’s nothing that needs a human writer.”
  • And journalism schools aren’t ready for AI disruption. “The journalism schools aren’t ready,” says Roetzer. “I came out of journalism school. I stay in communication with them. I pay attention to the space. I don’t think there’s enough communication happening in the world of journalism about this imminent future, especially for the next phase of writers coming out of schools.”
  • But there is opportunity here if we take the time to understand it. On one hand, AI could replace journalists. But it could also enhance them. “Say I’m a sports beat writer or a local news writer, and I can feed AI 10,000 articles I’ve written…the AI can actually learn my voice, style, and the way I write, then output that,” says Roetzer. This can be assistive, not disruptive. It can help you get more done in less time, so you can focus on more in-depth reporting and long-form editorial. “There’s a world of opportunity people need to think about that is beyond automation.”

What to Do About It

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PS — You can hear the whole conversation about this topic and more cutting-edge AI news in Episode 23 of the Marketing AI Show, out now.

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