Quartz forms Quartz AI Studio with $250k grant from Knight Foundation
Quartz has used artificial intelligence technology to help it promote articles through its AI-enabled chatbots. Now the publication is looking to incorporate computers more in the reporting of those articles.
Quartz has formed the Quartz AI Studio to produce articles that use machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that trains computers to identify patterns and anomalies and otherwise analyze data, to assist in the reporting of those articles, such as by separating the signal from the noise in terabytes of data in a fraction of the time that it would take a team of humans to comb through them.
Similar to the Quartz Bot Studio, which was established in November 2016 to develop chatbots and apps for conversational interfaces like Facebook’s Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa, the formation of the publication’s AI outfit stems from a Knight Foundation grant. Quartz will use the $249,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to hire a developer and a producer to join the Quartz AI Studio alongside John Keefe, technical architect for bots and machine learning at Quartz. Quartz expects to make those hires in time to begin working on stories in January, said Keefe.
“Artificial intelligence has the potential to have a transformative impact on the ways in which journalists share and spread the news. The Quartz AI Studio will hone this opportunity, putting artificial intelligence reporting methods into the hands of more journalists and helping small and mid-size news organizations increase their capacity to innovate,” said Paul Cheung, Knight Foundation director for journalism and technology innovation, in an emailed statement.
Publications, like BuzzFeed and The Washington Post, already use artificial intelligence to investigate hidden spy planes and cover companies’ earnings reports. Quartz AI Studio will produce similar work, but it will also be tasked with producing materials to help other publications produce such work on their own as well as in tandem with Quartz.
“This is taking [data journalism] to the next level where we’re trying to get journalists comfortable using computers to do some of this pattern matching, sorting, grouping, anomaly detection — really working with especially large data sets,” said Keefe.
Quartz AI Studio is expected to work on six articles in 2019, and Quartz hopes that at least half of those articles will be produced in collaboration with other publications, said Keefe.
Over the next six weeks, Quartz will brainstorm what stories would make sense for the AI Studio team to work on. “Machine learning won’t help with every story,” he said. Quartz has not set specific areas of interest for its AI Studio team that indicates any changes in the publication’s editorial coverage, Keefe said. The publication will also reach out to other news organizations, large and small, to see if they have any projects in the pipeline that could benefit from collaborating with Quartz AI Studio.
The Knight Foundation grant will subsidize Quartz AI Studio’s work for the next year, during which time Quartz could find ways to make money from it in the long run. As it has done with its Bot Studio, Quartz could have the AI Studio team to work with brands, though that’s not part of the plan for AI Studio’s first year, Keefe said.
Also not part of the plan, at least initially, is having Quartz AI Studio produce content specifically for Quartz’s new paid membership tier. Not only will the AI Studio team be working on big enough projects that “we will want to have out to the general population,” Keefe said, but half of those projects are likely to be produced with other publications that wouldn’t want to limit their own audiences’ ability to access it.
In addition to incorporating more computer-assisted reporting in its own journalism, the publication plans to use its AI Studio to help others, particularly small- and mid-sized outlets that may not be able to staff a standalone team dedicated to AI-assisted reporting. The Quartz AI Studio team will publish how-to guides and release code examples that other publications can use to start incorporating the technology into their own reporting.
Cheat Sheet: Google unveils timeline for a more ‘responsible’ cookie death clock
Google elaborated on its timeline for killing off third-party cookies as part of its promises to the UK's antitrust authority.
‘Weak Sauce’: New industry tool for opt-out from email-based tracking misses ID tech and key players like Facebook and Liveramp
The Network Advertising Initiative's new privacy control is intended to stop email-based audience matching — often referred to as onboarding.
How news publishers are using the Olympics and AR to flex their emerging tech storytelling
Big publishers like The Washington Post and USA Today are developing and expanding AR storytelling around the Olympic Games.
SponsoredHow the ad industry can use its borrowed time to future-proof first-party data solutions
Trent Lloyd, co-founder and head of brand solutions, Eyeota Google’s updated timeline for its Privacy Sandbox rollout, including its two-year delay of third-party cookie deprecation on Chrome, didn’t come as a surprise to many industry observers, given the limited utility of Google’s FLoC and the slow momentum of the Privacy Sandbox in the World Wide […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers’ programmatic ad businesses have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels
This week's Media Briefing looks at how the pandemic and the cookie's eventual demise have created the conditions for the programmatic ad market that publishers have been pushing for, with a shift to private buying coinciding with prices pushing past pre-pandemic levels.
‘They will need to use multiple routes’: Shifts appear in the publisher-SSP union, as alternative identifiers proliferate
As the ad tech industry rewires itself around the contours of privacy, supply-side platforms are reinventing themselves (again).