Newsroom Robots
Newsroom Robots
Building an AI-Literate Newsroom at Radio Canada: In Conversation with Florent Daudens

Building an AI-Literate Newsroom at Radio Canada: In Conversation with Florent Daudens

With the rapid advancements in generative AI, I've noticed a growing concern and even fear among journalists about AI's potential misuse and implications in our industry. However, I firmly believe that much of this apprehension stems from a lack of understanding of what AI really is and how to harness its power properly.

A significant part of my work this year as an AI-Journalism Knight Fellow at the International Center for Journalists and the Program Lead at the AI Journalism Lab at the City University of New York is dedicated to upskilling journalists on AI, demystifying the technology, exploring its potential applications, and learning to use it ethically and effectively. And let me tell you, my recent conversation with Florent Daudens, who spearheaded AI initiatives at Radio Canada until recently, was nothing short of inspiring.

In this week's podcast, I'm bringing you an inside look at how Radio Canada has been building an AI-literate newsroom, straight from the visionary himself, Florent Daudens, the outgoing Director of News Gathering and Deployment at the Canadian Public Broadcaster, Radio Canada.

Florent's insights into how Radio Canada, a major national newsroom, focuses on building an AI-literate workforce is very fascinating. Their three-pronged approach – an expertise group, training sessions, and experimentation workshops – is a testament to their commitment to empowering their journalists with AI.

At Radio Canada, they've developed a comprehensive program that covers everything from the basics of AI to hands-on experimentation. But what struck me was how they've fostered a culture of curiosity and creativity around AI.

By demystifying the technology and encouraging journalists to explore its potential, they've seen a remarkable shift in attitudes. People are no longer afraid of AI; they're excited about its possibilities!

One of the key insights I took away from our chat was the importance of empowering journalists to understand and engage with AI. As Florent put it, "We want people to be able to embrace AI and not suffer from it." We need to take the time to educate ourselves and our colleagues about AI to avoid being left behind or, worse, using it irresponsibly.

Another aspect of Radio Canada's approach that I found particularly inspiring was its focus on fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing. From their internal prompts library to their "prompts clinic," they've created a space where journalists can learn from each other and build on their ideas.

This got me thinking about how to apply these principles in our newsrooms. What if we created AI literacy programs tailored to our newsrooms’ specific needs and goals? What if we encouraged our colleagues to experiment with AI and share their knowledge? The possibilities are endless! 

As Florent rightly pointed out, the essence of journalism will always be human. AI, while a powerful tool, is just that – a tool. It's our responsibility to use it with curiosity, creativity, and, most importantly, integrity.

AI may automate tasks and open up new avenues for storytelling, but the human elements – curiosity, editorial judgment, and critical thinking – will always distinguish journalists.

Be sure to tune in to the full episode to hear more about Radio Canada's trailblazing AI initiatives, the state of French-language AI models, and Florent's own weekend projects (including using AI to draw unicorns for his daughter!).

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. How are you and your newsroom navigating the AI revolution? What challenges and opportunities are you encountering? Hit reply and let me know.

🎧 Listen to the full conversation available now on Apple, Spotify, Google, and other major podcast platforms.

Newsroom Robots
Newsroom Robots
Looking to explore the intersection of AI and journalism? Influential thought leaders in the industry join data scientist and media entrepreneur, Nikita Roy, each week to explore what's next with AI and its implications for the media landscape. In each episode, industry experts discuss how automated newsrooms have the potential to change journalism and uncover opportunities to optimize workflows and increase efficiency without compromising journalistic integrity