Author: Tom Lynch

Problem space

People want to know about:

  • Local crime
  • Restaurants
  • Weather
  • Traffic
  • Local events
  • Planning and housing
  • Local services (council, schools, handymen)
  • Local interest

The most expensive to produce are:

  • Investigations: These are expensive because of the higher time investment required and often higher count of staff involved due to breadth of skills required

Journalists need to:

  • Accumulate information from different sources
  • Verify information in these sources, establish what is important and irrelevant
  • Document all their actions taken throughout the process
  • Evaluate their findings and construct a story
  • Expensive and potentially extensive legal cross-checks
  • Create content to publish

The expensive part of investigations is the time spent by a journalist to understand information from different sources and verify the information

  • It isn’t going to be viable to just ‘apply AI’ here, but are there recurring aspects of investigations where it could help?

The highest revenue generating are:

  • Assuming an ad-based model, the highest revenue generating are likely to be clickbait
  • Or could be broad and general - i.e. exactly what local news can’t be

This is a problem because:

  • The revenue for each article is too low to sustain the journalistic effort to produce it
  • This reduces the incentives for media outlets to create quality content, reducing access to local news

Solution space

Key opportunities:

  • Automatically generate articles/video.
  • Planning data
  • AI could potentially improve the quality, breadth and relevance of local news stories
  • Suggest articles based on trends in/new data
  • Can AI comb through financial records to find wrongdoing?
  • Can journalists gather information from sources in a lower-cost way?
  • Can journalists gather expert opinions in an automated way?
  • Identify leading voices or subject matter experts in a particular subject, gather their contact details together, and submit requests for comment