Media Insider: Publishers Are Cautious About AI, Twitter’s Top Advertisers Pull Ad Dollars

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

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Publisher editorial teams experiment with ChatGPT, but few use AI tech in their work
Digiday | Sara Guaglione

Although a few publishers — including BuzzFeed and CNET — have made news recently for their use of ChatGPT and similar AI technologies to create content, it appears that they are the exception. Top editors and media execs from Bustle Digital Group, Gizmodo, Forbes, Futurism, and more told Digiday that their newsrooms are not integrating AI tech into their workflows. Issues with inaccuracies and plagiarism are among the top concerns. They are however encouraging editorial teams to familiarize themselves with ChatGPT and discuss how it could help journalists with their jobs. David Ewalt, editor-in-chief of Gizmodo, said, “One day, this technology will be a legitimate reporting tool that will help a reporter get the easy stuff done, so the reporter can… call sources and dig in and do the stuff that a computer can’t do. We’re just not there yet.”

Related: Google reiterated its stance on AI-generated content and said the focus should not be on how the content is created, but rather on if it’s written for people and not search engines. And BuzzFeed launched its AI-powered quiz tool this week.

More than half of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers stopped spending on platform, data show
CNN | Clare Duffy

More than 600 of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers in September had pulled their ad dollars as of January, according to data from digital marketing analysis firm Pathmatics. Some of the big names include Coca-Cola, Jeep, and Wells Fargo. The advertiser exodus has made a big dent in Twitter’s monthly revenue from its top 1,000 advertisers — which plummeted from $127 million in October to just over $48 million in January. Twitter owner Elon Musk has been trying to woo advertisers back with a Super Bowl “fire sale” and a partnership with a third-party “brand safety” firm, but pushback continues. Musk said in an early February tweet that the previous three months had been “extremely tough, as had to save Twitter from bankruptcy,” but that the company “is now trending to breakeven if we keep at it.”

In other social media news, TikTok is developing several new features, including a creator-focused paywall and a revamped creator fund.

How Spotify’s podcast bet went wrong
Semafor | Max Tani

In recent years, Swedish audio streaming giant Spotify spent hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase podcast production companies and big-name shows to attract new subscribers to the platform. Now, the company’s billion-dollar bet on podcasts seems to be faltering as Spotify recently pushed out its chief content officer and canceled nearly a dozen shows at Gimlet, its highest-profile podcast investment. “In hindsight, I probably got a little carried away and overinvested relative to the uncertainty we saw shaping up in the market,” CEO Daniel Ek said on an earnings call in January. Rivals Amazon, Apple, and iHeart, however, are finding better returns on their more cautious bets.

Read next: The Time magazine website will launch an e-commerce section produced entirely by staff at suggested-content advertising provider Taboola.

Lee Enterprises forces furloughs in latest cost-cutting move
Axios | Kerry Flynn, Sara Fischer

In its latest cost-cutting measure, Lee Enterprises is telling some staffers that they need to take a two-week, unpaid furlough or accept a salary reduction. Lee won a bitter legal battle with Alden Global Capital last year, but the furloughs have employees wondering if hedge fund ownership would have been better. “Nearly three years into the new regime, it’s becoming apparent that it might as well have been Alden, as Lee Enterprises is following the same playbook,” wrote Jim Heaney, a reporter with the Investigative Post. Some of Lee’s unionized newsrooms, including several newspapers in Virginia as well as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, have not been informed of furloughs.

ICYMI: Last week, News Corp announced it will cut 1,250 positions, or 5% of its workforce, this year.

The Dallas Morning News guts its Spanish-language newspaper, Al Día, after 19 years
NiemanLab | Hanaa’ Tameez

Al Día, which launched in 2003 as the first Spanish-language newspaper in Dallas, will be disbanded on March 1. Its five full-time staffers have been reassigned to roles within the Dallas Morning News (DMN) newsroom, where they will be required to produce content in English. Translations of DMN stories and pieces of content from Spanish-language wire services will continue to be published in Al Día’s weekly print edition and on its website. DMN CEO and publisher Grant Moise said the company is still committed to reaching the Hispanic audience in Dallas; Dallas county’s population is 40% Hispanic/Latino and 34% of residents speak Spanish at home. The decision leaves the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex without original news in Spanish from the region’s major newspapers. Sources say they are concerned about the loss of service journalism in Spanish as the Spanish-speaking audience has specific information needs. Community organizers protested the decision earlier this week.

Read next: Impatient for national legislation, the Massachusetts legislature is considering a bill that would provide a tax credit to reimburse the cost of local newspaper subscriptions.

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Rocky Parker is the Manager of Audience and Journalist Engagement at Cision PR Newswire. She's been with the company since 2010 and has worked with journalists and bloggers as well as PR and comms professionals. Outside of work, she can be found trying a new recipe, binging a new show, or cuddling with her pitbull, Hudson.

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