“The disruptive power of artificial intelligence (AI) will sweep through the information space this year (2024) at a time of intense political and economic volatility around the world,”

Nic Newman, Ex-BBC strategist says in his Journalism, Media and Tech trends report 2024 for Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) released recently.  

The implications for the reliability of information, and the sustainability of the mainstream media are likely to be profound in a year that sees critical elections due in more than 40 democracies, with wars continuing to rage in Europe and the Middle East. 

“Against that background – and with one forecast suggesting that the vast majority of all internet content will be synthetically produced by 20261 – journalists and news organisations will need to rethink their role and purpose with some urgency,” Newman says. 


AI to donominate content creation

The report explains that this year (2024), Search Generative Experiences (SGE) will start to roll out across the internet, along with a host of AI-driven chatbots that will offer a faster and more intuitive way to access information. 

Following sharp declines in referral traffic from Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), these changes are likely, over time, to further reduce audience flows to established news sites and put even more pressure on the bottom line. 

“To that end we can expect media owners to build more barriers to content this year, as well as engaging expensive lawyers to protect their intellectual property (IP). 

“At the same time, they’ll be aware that these strategies risk leaving their brands outside in the cold by making it even more challenging to reach younger and less educated audiences – many of whom are already comfortable with algorithmically generated news and have weaker ties to traditional media,” the report notes.  

Embracing the best of AI while managing its risks will be the underlying narrative of the year ahead.

Other possible developments in 2024?

Building on last year’s prediction, the report insists that we will see even more newspapers stopping daily print production this year as print costs rise and distribution networks weaken or in some cases reach breaking point.

It expected to see a significant shift towards bundling of digital news and non-news content as large publishers look to lock in existing customers. All access subscriptions will include games, podcasts, magazines, books, and even content from other publishers.

“Big tech platforms will also be leaning further into paid business models as they look to reduce their dependence on advertising. X, Meta, and TikTok will offer more premium services this year including ad-free and privacy-friendly options,” Newman says in the report. 

AI bots and personal assistants will gain more traction in 2024 with up-to-date news and sport an important use case – raising existential questions about intellectual property. Many of these bots will be personality or journalist driven as cloning technologies improve, raising legal and ethical questions.