MARCH 2, 2023

The Innovation Station

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Experimentation is key when it comes to finding new audiences who may be turned off from watching news due to an unrelentingly negative news agenda.

In the latest episode of season three of the Making the Media Podcast, host Craig Wilson speaks with Gina McKeon, Innovation Editor with the Australian Public Broadcaster, ABC.

In the episode, she discusses the way teams work on pilot projects to test new approaches to storytelling, testing out different platforms, and using data to inform their strategy.

Gina says, “We do user testing, we look at the data, we really talk about what actually worked and didn't work about that piece of content and then we can share those learnings with the rest of the ABC and that then goes into, you know, ‘Yes, we should go ahead with this’ or ‘We'll do something slightly different with this.’ It's a really excellent part of it to be able to just experiment with that. There's a catch phrase in the team that we test strategy in reality, you know, we're thinking about what is the ABC strategy, and then we do the thing. But that also means you are taking risks and doing new things, so, it's a big part of what we do.”

TikTok has become a crucial area for testing new ways of storytelling, particularly as it appeals to a younger demographic of eighteen to twenty-five year-olds who are no longer using more traditional ways of watching, listening, or reading news. ABC has run a TikTok program over the course of a year to teach staff the best ways to use the platform.

In the episode, Gina outlines the growing importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning and discusses how journalists and editorial teams can take advantage of these capabilities to enhance their work, rather than fear that they are going to render them obsolete.

“There's an essential part of journalism that you can't replace, obviously. It's the analysis, it's the human in the loop, as they're calling it, and the AI and ML engineers totally agree with that. There definitely needs to be a human in the loop, that checkpoint before things go public. You know, the editors using that same journalistic and editorial rigor that we apply to all of our stories, really using that as well in the use of these tools, thinking about where is the data source from that has created the AI or been involved in the development of the AI? And when the AI spits out results or provides suggestions, it's really using that rigor around those as well, so I don't think we can replace humans in that way.”

Find out more on the next episode of the Making the Media Podcast, available on all major podcast platforms on Monday, March 6.

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  • Craig Wilson headshot

    Craig Wilson is a newsroom specialist with over thirty years of experience in the broadcast industry. Craig has held various roles with Avid and is now the Global Media and Cloud Product Evangelist and host of the Making the Media podcast.

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