Indian Publishers’ Love-Hate Relationship with ChatGPT

While scores of publishers are using ChatGPT and similar AI-powered tools these days, there is still a lack of transparency regarding its usage
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The use of ChatGPT by publishers has sparked a heated debate in the industry. But the question is how many of them are really using Generative AI to aid their work? If you ask the purists, they would sneer at the idea, turn up their noses, turn around and leave. But if you ask ChatGPT, it will tell you that media publications are using the chatbot in news summarisations, creating chatbots, content generation, improvisation, social media management and much more. 

“I personally use the AI-powered tool DALL.E to produce images for my stories. The use of ChatGPT in content improvisation is a call the editor has to take. Also, there is a need for a discourse around its judicious use. The tool is here to stay, so the publishers should adopt the tool to improvise their offerings,” said Imtiaz Shariff, news editor at Deccan Herald.

The Better India, a popular Indian digital media platform that focuses on human-impact stories, told AIM that it leverages ChatGPT for its social media marketing efforts. Moreover, it uses AI-powered tools like Midjourney and DALL-E to produce images for their campaigns. “Tools like ChatGPT have helped us save time and cost, enabling us to focus on our diverse efforts. In the coming days, we are planning to use a blend of AI and human-generated content for the platform,” said Dhimant Parekh, founder and CEO of TBI.

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Another prominent digital media platform The Logical Indian’s founding editor and head of factcheck, Bharat Nayak, was also optimistic about the usage of the popular tool. He shared, “Editors can use the tool to tweak their content to keep it in alignment with the platform’s requirements and also to hasten the publishing of content. We don’t have a policy on its usage as yet at The Logical Indian, but I do use it personally.” 

Some of the other media friends we spoke to feel that tools like ChatGPT play an important role in reducing human dependency and cutting costs. The tools act as an enhancer and can greatly help in content refinement. 

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Mainstream publications in India, excluding The Times of India, The Hindu, and a few others, said that they are yet to react to its usage in their operations. However, a few of them said that they are using the tool for content improvisation and marketing, if not for generative purposes.

The naysayers 

The News Minute, a popular independent digital media platform that covers developments from South India, told AIM that AI-powered tools like ChatGPT are not yet completely trustworthy when it comes to fact-based content. “We have no plans as of now to integrate ChatGPT or any other AI into our editorial processes and have not formulated any policy on its use,” said Ragamalika Karthikeyan, editor-special projects and experiments at TNM.

A similar stance was taken by Prema Sridevi, founder of The Probe – an independent investigative news media platform. Interestingly, they tried using ChatGPT to create newsletters but later discontinued it because Sridevi felt that tools like these only help if the focus is on quantity, not quantity. It didn’t align with their investigative stories and ground reports that require human efforts at their core. However, they are still exploring to see how such tools can be leveraged in the future to enhance their work.

Regional digital media platforms, like Newsmeter that covers the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, are not very optimistic of ChatGPT’s usage either. The platform, which offers ground reports and fact-checked stories, feels that human intervention and storytelling cannot be enhanced by technology and AI. 

ChatGPT usage policy for media 

While scores of publishers are using ChatGPT and similar AI-powered tools these days, there is still a lack of transparency regarding its usage. Hence, there is a need for publishers to be forthcoming on its usage to ensure judicious use and cull its misuse, more from an ethical standpoint. 

Despite being optimistic about the use of tools like ChatGPT for publications, some media firms like The Better India and The Logical Indian, and also Analytics India Magazine, for that matter, are still mulling the need for a policy as they plan to use the tool in their content publishing efforts. On the other hand, The News Minute, The Probe and Newsmeter are still contemplating the ChatGPT transition. 

What’s the next step? 

As the debate around the judicious use of AI-powered tools rages, organisations like Springer Nature, one of the leading academic scientific journals, have formulated guidelines pertaining to using AI in research manuscripts. This comes in the wake of the scientific publisher community mulling on instituting similar solutions for themselves.

Last week, the journal announced that softwares like ChatGPT couldn’t be recognised as an author in studies published in its thousands of publications. It has also mandated that researchers using LLM tools or AI chatbots should document the use in the ‘methods or acknowledgements’ sections.

On the other hand, Buzzfeed, the New York-headquartered internet media company, is gearing up to use ChatGPT to generate content for its website. This may be in the form of polls and quizzes initially.

In India, many of these proponents argue that ChatGPT can significantly improve efficiency and productivity, freeing up journalists to focus on more in-depth reporting and analysis. They also highlight the potential of ChatGPT to reduce the cost of content creation and to help meet the growing demand for content in the digital age.

Meanwhile, there are publishers who are not very optimistic about its use and argue that the technology could have a negative impact on the quality of journalism. They fear that the use of the popular tool could homogenise the media landscape, with all content sounding similar and lacking the unique and original perspective gained through original reportage and in-depth research that human journalists bring to the table.

Our take

It is in the wake of this discourse that Analytics India Magazine, one of India’s leading publications for the latest developments in AI and analytics, has instituted a policy regarding the use of AI-powered tools like ChatGPT and alike to enhance their content. AIM, of course, believes in the power of technology and how it can help our journalists and in-house experts focus on bringing unique ideas to the table. As a proprietor of tech innovations, we have recently been experimenting with ChatGPT tools, mainly to enhance our content quality and improve the experience for our readers. 

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by Vijayalakshmi Anandan

The Deep Learning Curve is a technology-based podcast hosted by Vijayalakshmi Anandan - Video Presenter and Podcaster at Analytics India Magazine. This podcast is the narrator's journey of curiosity and discovery in the world of technology.

Aparna Iyer
Aparna Iyer has covered various sectors spanning education, wildlife, culture and law for close to a decade. She now writes on technology and is keen to unearth its capability for public good.

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