top of page

AI read the news today, oh boy

Cat McGinn, curator of HumAIn writes:

In our latest update on HumAIn’s program, we will be discussing the impact and opportunities of AI for Australia’s news media.

The news media sector is a canary in the coal mine in terms of AI transformation.  Newsrooms usually run on the whiff of an oily rag, so the productivity gains AI offers for content generation and time savings for journalists and editors can be significant. However, the possible risks and challenges need careful navigation. 

There have already been high-profile misuses of AI, and some researchers have cited the potential impact on audience trust as urgent. 

Mastheads and brands alike need to pivot to address changing audience behaviour as chatbots and AI-generated search become more widely used, and revenue models for ad-funded media are under threat.  

As part of AI for media and marketing conference humAIn, the session “AI and the Future of News” will bring together a diverse group of experts in the fields of AI technology, journalism, ethics, and digital media innovation. 

L-R: Sutton, Withnall, Davis, Davies to explore AI in news media
L-R: Sutton, Withnall, Davis, Davies to explore AI in news media

They will explore AI's profound impact on news production, distribution, and consumption. The discussion will cover the potential benefits, approaches and the guardrails news organisations must consider. 

The panel includes Melanie Withnall, Head of News and Information for Southern Cross Austereo. She will discuss how she has been exploring ways of using AI for audio production, and issues around fact checking to combat the rise of deepfakes and other AI misinformation. Withnall was previously manager of ABC Radio Sydney and currently leads a news team of 50 journalists across more than 30 markets.

Also speaking is Michael Davis, the co-author of the Centre for Media Transition’s groundbreaking report into genAI for journalism. Davis is a research fellow at the centre, which is part of UTS. His research focuses on the impact of generative AI on news and the digital information ecosystem and regulatory responses to misinformation. He previously worked at the Australian Communications and Media Authority on misinformation policy, the news media bargaining code, and impartiality in news.

Also on the panel is Shaun Davies, who is a consultant on responsible AI use. He was director of content safety for Microsoft’s Start news feed globally and earlier in his career was Australia editor for BBC News and head of digital for Newshub at MediaWorks in NZ.

The fourth speaker will be Ricky Sutton. Sutton was a news editor for News Corp in the UK and Australia before working on Fairfax Media’s video offerings and then founding video platform Oovvuu. Last year Sutton began writing the Future Media newsletter which focuses on the collision of technology and media.

In another session focusing on the impact of media, the topic for this year’s Great DebAIt is the proposition “AI is the news media’s extinction-level event”. Potential panellists are welcome to email

HumAIn takes place in Sydney on May 28. Previously announced sessions include: a keynote from Jeremy Somers, the founder of the world's first AI creative agency Not Content; award-winning AI entrepreneur Stephen Hunt presenting a primer on how to get started in adopting AI, and The AI Upfronts, in which innovators pitch their new AI products for the media and marketing world.

Earlybird tickets for HumAIn, with a saving of 20%, are on sale for just another fortnight.


28 May 2024 | Surry Hills, Sydney


bottom of page