News agencies began using artificial intelligence more widely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since many journalists work remotely, these technologies allow to maintain and increase the dynamics of the activities of news agencies.
The activities of news agencies during the coronavirus pandemic, current situation and prospects in news production were the primary focus of the online webinar moderated by EANA Secretary General Alexandru Giboi.
CEO of UK’s Press Association (PA) Clive Marshall noted that the main goal in the current situation was to try not to weaken news production, but reduce risks and make maximum use of new technologies. Now there is a greater need for news stories of our agency. Although our employees work remotely, we did not allow the news production to decrease. We have also started to use artificial intelligence (AI) more widely. Through this technology, we have made 17,000 news stories in a month and presented them to our subscribers, he said.
Clive Marshall emphasized the importance of not losing the opportunity to maintain the current demand for news during the post-pandemic period. Despite the uncertainties, it is necessary to focus on the strategy of diversifying development and news agencies’ activity, he added.
Sharing AZERTAC’s experience during the pandemic, the agency’s Chairman of Board, OANA Vice-president Aslan Aslanov highlighted the need of news consumers to reliable information. He said: “Since there is a great need for agencies during the pandemic, everyone wants a source of reliable information. Despite the quarantine regime, AZERTAC maintains its positive dynamic in the news production. We deem it a top priority to protect our employees from the COVID-19 virus. Citizens are primarily interested in the social and economic support and development of healthcare economic programs implemented in the country under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev and with the support of First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva. We also prepare and disseminate news, videos, analytical stories and info-charts on these issues. I can say that this period has been a test of opportunities and resources for AZERTAC and all other agencies.”
The sides also exchanged views over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the information environment, prospects and ways of addressing the potential crisis situations.
EANA was founded on August 21, 1956 in connection with a conference on new media technology held in Strasbourg. The organization, which has a significant impact on global information policy, brings together 32 European news agencies. They include major news agencies such as the Press Association (PA) of the Great Britain, France Press (FP) of France, DPA of Germany, EFE of Spain, TASS of Russia, and Anadolu Agency of Turkey. AZERTAC, a member of EANA since 2008, is closely involved in the organization’s activity.