Reviving Local News: How AI Could Be the Key to Transforming the Industry

Why Local News Needs Artificial Intelligence to Survive

As the chief editor of, I spend most of my day reading about the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI). It's hard not to get excited about the potential of this technology to transform industries and make our lives easier. But one area where AI could have a particularly significant impact is local news.

Local news is struggling. The rise of social media and the decline of print advertising has hit local newspapers hard, leading to layoffs, closures, and a decline in the quality and quantity of local news coverage. But AI could be the key to turning things around. Here's why.

The Problem with Local News Today

Before we dive into how AI could help, let's take a closer look at the challenges facing local news today:

  • Declining revenue: As mentioned, the decline of print advertising has hit local newspapers hard. Many have tried to shift to online advertising, but that market is dominated by Google and Facebook.
  • Staffing cuts: With revenue declining, many local newspapers have had to lay off reporters and editors, leading to a decline in the quality and quantity of local news coverage.
  • Digital overload: With so much news available online, it can be hard for readers to find the local news that's most relevant to them. This can lead to a decline in engagement and interest in local news.

How AI Could Help

So how could AI help solve these problems? Here are a few ways:

  • Personalization: AI algorithms could help deliver local news stories to readers based on their interests and location. This could increase engagement and help readers discover stories they might not have seen otherwise.
  • Automation: AI could help automate some of the more tedious tasks involved in local news coverage, such as transcribing interviews or fact-checking.
  • Data analysis: With AI, local newspapers could analyze data about their readership to better understand what stories are most popular and what types of content are resonating. This could help them make more informed editorial decisions.
  • Revenue generation: AI could help local newspapers identify new revenue streams beyond traditional advertising, such as paid subscriptions or sponsorships.

Fun Fact: AI is Already Being Used in Local News

Some local news organizations are already experimenting with AI. For example:

  • The Press Association, a UK-based news agency, is using AI to automatically generate news stories about the earnings reports of publicly traded companies.
  • The Washington Post is using AI to automatically generate short news briefs about local high school sports games.
  • The Associated Press is using AI to automatically generate earnings reports for publicly traded companies.

The Future of Local News

AI isn't going to solve all of the problems facing local news, but it could be a powerful tool to help local newspapers better serve their communities. As AI technology continues to improve, we can expect to see more and more local news organizations experimenting with this technology. And who knows? Maybe AI-powered local news will be the thing that finally turns the industry around.