Jago Kosolosky (°1991) staat sinds 1 augustus 2020 aan het hoofd van MO* en MO.be. Hij volgde Gie Goris op, hoofdredacteur van MO* van bij het ontstaan van de publicatie in 2003.
‘The need for in-depth journalism is increasing, as is its value’
Thanks in part to artificial intelligence, the amount of superficial information disguised as journalism will increase even more briskly, writes editor-in-chief Jago Kosolosky. ‘At such a time, the need for in-depth journalism is increasing, as is its value.’
Translation of this article is provided by kompreno, using a combination of machine translation and human correction. More articles from MO* are included in kompreno‘s curation of the finest analysis, opinion & reporting — from all across Europe, translated into your language. Original source.
‘What should I answer to that?’ asks Anastasia Rudenko. She is the editor-in-chief of the first, now highly successful, solution-oriented publication in Ukraine. For this talented young journalist, the Russian invasion of her country meant the death of friends, unrelenting stress and an endless dose of headaches. She was asked whether artificial intelligence, recently repackaged in chat format, will end up making journalists redundant. Well, what should she answer?
Making new connections, registering facts and generating true knowledge are and remain matters of human nature.
I start by telling her about the first ads for electric hoovers in the United States, not long after World War I. The promise of ‘effortless mornings and free afternoons’ remained unfulfilled (especially for women, the sole target audience of these often sexist campaigns).
Yes, I argue, artificial intelligence will change our lives, just as light bulbs, the fax machine and floppy disks did. But its impact is often overestimated. Human effort and creativity will always remain the measure of what is labelled valuable. The ‘intelligence’ we are talking about is artificial, a false impression of reality, which is just convincing enough to fool many people.
So journalists, feel free to let bits and bytes assist you with routine jobs like writing out interviews or coming up with variations on article titles. But making new connections, registering facts and generating true knowledge are and remain matters of human nature.
Anastasia’s smile returns, some of the other journalists in the group nod. I feel reassured. After all, it is quite difficult not to feel superfluous as a Belgian journalist among colleagues from countries like Ukraine or Tajikistan. I don’t work by candlelight while mourning friends and acquaintances. I am not attacked by a mendacious regime that is leaning ever closer to Putin. I do not start every working day with a significant risk of physical assault, threats or imprisonment.
But even in our part of the world, journalism faces challenges. What will I tell the researcher from Reporters Without Borders when he interviews me as part of the Press Freedom Index, the annual ranking of press freedom in the world? Last year, Belgium dropped a whopping 12 places on that list.
Do I share concerns about the ruthlessness of a rampant commercial media market? Or do I talk about co-financing, where media outlets can count on project subsidies proportional to their own contribution, and how that mainly makes big players bigger? Or about the large-scale sham self-employment those companies impose on journalists, something that has been quietly condoned for years? In the meantime, publishers who respect our social security — with the solidarity embedded in it — and everyone’s labour rights are footing the bill.
Independent and value-driven journalism without a profit motive was never easy — nor should it be. And yet MO* is blowing out 20 birthday candles this year. As for many non-profit organisations (such as Wereldmediahuis, the publisher of MO*), these are challenging times. Nothing offers as much hope as a conversation with my predecessor Gie Goris, who made it through many rocky periods at the helm of our team. For two decades, MO* has constantly managed to reinvent itself, without abandoning its core values and principles. You can never avoid all wounds, but they can turn into harmless scars and teach valuable lessons.
The world has changed dramatically over the past two decades. The complexity of our profession seems to grow every single day.
The world has changed dramatically over the past two decades. The complexity of our profession seems to grow every single day. Yet the next 20 years will be great years for MO*. Indeed, the issues we have always given the most attention, from the climate crisis to inequality, are more relevant now than ever. More than ever, we are also making room for young people who believe in our work, and learn from them along the way.
Thanks in part to artificial intelligence, the amount of superficial information disguised as journalism will increase even more briskly. The end of the ‘infodemic’ is nowhere in sight. But just at such a time, the need for transparent and in-depth journalism is rising, and so is its value.
This type of journalism refuses to cast grey realities in black and white words. It does not opt for hasty cut and paste. It refrains from endlessly chasing events, and makes time for much-needed reflection.
That is why we cherish hope and blow out our birthday candles with a smile. Will you join us?