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5 years of pain ahead for the industry: Why publishing needs to go old-school to survive AI threats

“What’s your competitive advantage as a publishing business? It’s not the ability to churn out more articles than anybody else,” says Ian Betteridge.


A couple of weeks back I had a lengthy chat with Ian Betteridge – of Betteridge’s law of headlines (and, y’know, other relevant industry experience) – about the outlook for publishing as the impacts of AI begin to snowball. He had so much good advice that this is the first of two articles; the second will be focused on his strategies for how media leaders can introduce AI into their organisations.

In some respects, it was quite a sobering conversation. Ian reckons we have two years at the most to sort out the reliance on cheap clicks, SEO gaming and ‘easy’ content before AI really bites. He also thinks we have half a decade of real pain ahead as an industry.

But he’s optimistic, too. “The big advantage you’ve got as a human being…is you can go out and talk to people,” he pointed out. “AI can’t do that. It’s going back to those really quite traditional ways of finding exclusives, finding leads, finding really great content, and less of the focus on just ‘churn it out’ journalism.”

A little note from us: If you find this piece and/or our newsletter useful, interesting or both, please share with colleagues or even something like a LinkedIn post would be hugely appreciated. It’s harder than ever for indie publications like ours to get our work out there, so every recommendation makes a real difference ????


Media buyers don’t want to pay extra for publishers’ first-party data

The premium prices for publishers’ first-party data and contextual targeting solutions may be more than buyers are willing to pay for just yet.

If you’re charging premium prices, you’d better have a premium audience, and not just say you have one. There’s a beautiful quote in here from one agency executive which highlights the issue quite starkly: “If you’re paying a 20% premium for data and you don’t see a 20% improvement in audience quality, then it’s not worth paying.”


Apologies for Kategate – but will the spirit of restraint on social media last?

The Princess of Wales’s cancer diagnosis has put a stop to the internet’s wilder conspiracy theories, but it could be temporary

Here in the UK at least, stories about Kate been fairly moderate over the past months. Have we learned lessons from particularly unpleasant coverage of women like Caroline Flack, or is it the tighter rules which govern the press’ relationship with the royals coming into play? Whatever the reasons, Kensington Palace “can’t control the internet, or the American media, who are hugely interested in our royal family but have very different standards on privacy and libel,” this piece notes.


Users shocked to find Instagram limits political content by default

Instagram never directly told users it was limiting political content by default.

This has been one of those changes I’ve seen my ‘normie’ (non media) friends get wound up about. It’s not the fact that Instagram has offered a way to turn political content off, it’s that it’s set it as default for everyone on the sly. And, of course, what they deem as ‘political’ content is entirely opaque. It won’t just be suppressing content about elections and wars; few things news publishers cover are entirely apolitical these days.

More from Media Voices


War correspondent Jane Ferguson on how tech is evolving conflict reporting

On this week’s episode we hear from Jane Ferguson, an Irish-British journalist covering war, politics and US foreign policy.


Bridged Media’s Maanas Mediratta on opening up access to AI for publishers

Bridged Media CEO Maanas Mediratta explains why making it easier for publishers to access AI tools will help the whole publishing ecosystem.


The future of news is by people, for people

AI and other tools may help news businesses become more efficient. But they cannot uncover stories or build trust the way human reporters can.

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