AI is taking many companies at Burda by storm right now – also the Burda journalism school. A text about early successes and a clear line in the field of AI.
In a series of articles on AI in September, we will shed light on the different facets of artificial intelligence and show where the opportunities, but also the risks, lie. We will be talking to colleagues from across the business. Alina Bähr, editor-in-chief of Bunte.de shares her personal experiences - which range from scepticism to enthusiasm.
What was your first impression as Bunte.de editor-in-chief when you tested AI - or ChatGPT - for the first time?
I can still remember the moment. A colleague had shown me the tool at the last BurdaForward Christmas party. At first I was disturbed and fascinated at the same time. And then I sat down that very night and wrote my first prompts. As a journalist, I'm naturally curious, that´s part of the job and that´s why fascination won in the end.
What was your first prompt?
I had the tool write texts about my own person, of which about 80 per cent were correct, but 20 per cent were total rubbish. There is a very successful female cyclist with the same name as me and ChatGPT mixed up our careers. Some caution is definitely to be advised with ChatGPT results.
How quickly did the employees at Bunte.de adapt to the new challenges and opportunities presented by generative AI? Was there more reticence or enthusiasm at the beginning?
There was definitely some scepticism at the beginning. It was an unknown variable. So one could either continue to be suspicious or jump into the great unknown with an open mind. So I advocated embracing this new technology, trying it out and making the most of such tools for us as a team. If AI can make your job easier, then it really makes sense to use it. Our team is very young, motivated, curious and open to trying out new developments.
How has the work of Bunte.de journalists changed through the use of AI, especially ChatGPT?
We use ChatGPT, Deepl Write & Co. every day. In the best case scenario, we use AI to uniquify Bunte.de texts for Focus online and the other way round. An editor needs 10 to 15 minutes to manually rewrite a text and optimise it for SEO - with AI, I'm done in half the time.
This is followed by an AI-based grammar and spelling check, and then a team member checks whether everything is correct. We are now doing this very successfully and have made this part of our daily editorial process.
We also use time-saving AIs when curating podcasts or typing and translating interviews. Meanwhile, I also create our roster with AI, which saves me a good two hours. So you can always think: Which activities do I really have to do myself and where can AI support me? And if I can delegate a good part of it to AI, I have much more time to take care of more elaborate editorial topics.
Speaking of editors, ChatGPT is available around the clock, doesn't need breaks, doesn't get sick, doesn't take holidays and doesn't want a salary. Why should one still employ editors when ChatGPT works for free?
I am not afraid that the machine will replace the human being. Especially in the editorial field, it is indispensable that a colleague checks, optimises and verifies the texts created by AI. For example, the Chat GPT standard version currently names Charles as King of England, but also makes us believe that Queen Elizabeth is alive. The current data sets have not yet been fully migrated. Therefore, it needs someone with a solid knowledge of journalism to see and correct these errors. Texts produced by the AI need to be thoroughly edited. Such a tool cannot replace an editor who has been working in people journalism for years. Rather, it is a supplement to everyday editorial work.
What new jobs do you think AI can create in people journalism?
They have already been created: We have a new position for an AI reporter in my team. My colleague Vanessa is working on the question of how we can use AI for the Bunte.de brand. We are experimenting a lot and she brings strong impulses to the team - she has provided the impetus for many of the points mentioned above.
Bunte.de has an incredible 13.47 million unique user and stands for topicality and exclusivity. How do exclusivity and AI-generated texts fit together?
In the online sector, exclusivity is not my top priority. A news story can spread across all platforms within minutes and is accessible to everyone. But we have an exclusive attitude that we wish to convey. The Bunte.de brand always has a positive approach. We want to show appreciation for the people we accompany. In addition, for about two years now we have not only been offering celebrities a stage, but also fascinating personalities who have made a difference and whom we are therefore just as happy to accompany. People who are not necessarily in the limelight, but who deserve to be put in the spotlight by their actions. That's what is important for us: exciting stories with real people. And AI is just another pillar in this process on which we stand. But not the only one.