Getting a grip on growing AI needs in media

Latiffah presenting a token of appreciation to Johan while Chamil looks on during the National Media Forum 2019.

UNDERGRADUATES pursuing journalism- related programmes must be equipped with the knowledge of digital tools and artificial intelligence (AI) application in order to gain employment in the media industry.

This was among the topics addressed at the sixth National Media Forum 2019 held at Taylor’s University in Subang Jaya, which also discussed future challenges faced by the industry and new employees under the 4th Industrial Revolution (IR4).

Themed “Industry 4.0: Journalism Across Multiple Platforms”, the forum centred on journalism in the digital age and the challenges presented by AI as well as the growth of citizen journalism in Malaysia.

Veteran journalist and former chairman of a media company Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar, who was awarded the Tokoh Wartawan Negara 2018 by Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), shared insights on the world of journalism today.

He highlighted that one of the challenges was the shift in advertising.

He said business strategies and models in the industry had to change to suit today’s needs in order for it to stay relevant and strong.

Johan shared about his days as a journalist with Utusan Malaysia when churning out news articles was hard work, adding that the job scope and media landscape had changed very much from those days.

“The competition with social media is intense, ” he said.

He added that information and videos easily went viral on online platforms such as YouTube and social media.

There were also discussions on whether media studies offered at higher education institutions were still relevant today to accommodate the role of journalists in the digital era.

“We need a re-look at our curriculum and syllabus because the media today and that of the last 10 to 20 years are very different, ” said Johan.

Meanwhile, Taylor’s University School of Media and Communication head Dr Latiffah Pawanteh stressed on the need for academicians and media practitioners to rethink together and revise the curriculum to comply with the changing needs of the media industry.

“AI is taking over journalism with features such as automated news writing, which is already being used in the United States and Europe.

“Although it will not completely take over human labour in the industry, some roles, jobs and tasks will certainly be hybridised, ” she said.

Malaysian Press Institute chief executive officer Datuk Dr Chamil Wariya said AI was one of the main elements in the IR4 revolution that was already being used in newsrooms and international press agencies.

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