Staying ahead of the media relations curve is strategic and necessary for effective communication. Business Wire’s Media Relations Team has meticulously observed trends throughout 2023 that have made an impact on the media relations world. See the team’s insights and predictions on AI (its impact on public relations, journalism, and international news media), social media, data privacy trends, and more.
AI Tools in Public Relations
Pilar Portela, US Media Relations Manager
Recognize any of these top 10+ AI PR tools such as Brandwatch, Cleanup.pictures, Canva, Otter.AI, Beautiful.ai, or Grammarly? You are more than likely using a few of these AI applications in your day-to-day tasks and you don’t even realize how much. According to The State of PR Technology 2023, 67.8% of PR professionals surveyed already leverage AI in their work for idea generation, press release creation, and PR research, reporting, and monitoring.
Earlier this year, Business Wire shared AI-Powered Tools: What Do Public Relations Pros Need to Know? The post not only shared new public relations and marketing products but also their impact on customer service, healthcare, and supply chain management industries. AI technology is now being used to improve automation, enhance decision-making, and optimize processes.
Some new AI-powered PR tools worth mentioning are Muck Rack’s PressPal.ai, designed to draft press releases and serve up a list of relevant journalists who may be interested in your news. Another is HubSpot’s set of AI-powered tools aimed to boost productivity and save time.
As more AI-powered PR applications enter the market, we predict they will be capable of improving decision-making, optimizing processes, and enhancing the overall customer experience. However, we need to keep in mind these products are not a substitute for human expertise. Public relations is about relationship building and the human aspect will always remain a key component to the industry. With careful human editorial review and expertise, AI-assisted products are great tools for PR pros to add to their toolbox.
AI Tools for Journalists
Jeanne Prisyazhnaya, New York Media Relations Specialist
Preliminary results of Business Wire’s 2023 Media Survey show that a quarter of newsrooms are currently using tools like ChatGPT, though more than half of journalists are concerned about AI affecting journalism jobs. This reflects a range of mixed feelings toward AI. However, AI is inevitably becoming an essential part of a journalist’s day-to-day life. If we look a few years back, only select newsrooms were experimenting with automation, whereas today AI apps and tools are widespread.
AI today is used by media for a variety of purposes:
- Understanding audience needs
- Automating news production
- Leveraging archival content
- Creating and editing multimedia
- Moderating comments
- Optimizing engagement and subscriptions
- Identifying bias
Major journalism organizations, such as the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), now recommend AI tools to automate routine work. For example, Notion can offer writing/editing suggestions, while Adobe Firefly can apply AI for video and photo editing and 3D modeling. BeyondWords can turn written articles into audio (a format preferred by Gen Z), and RJI YESEO App helps write SEO-friendly headlines. There’s even an app to battle writer’s block called Jenni.ai and an app that assists with hours of interview tapes, Otter.ai.
Recently, Forbes launched a new generative AI tool, Adelaide, powered by Google Cloud, and unlike their previous product Bertie, Adelaide will be accessible to all Forbes subscribers.
Implementation of AI into a journalist’s day-to-day doesn’t always mean a warm welcome or smooth adoption. There are growing concerns around the potential spread of misinformation, deep fakes, breached codes of ethics, and lack of privacy, to name a few. The Washington Post reported that since the end of the summer, at least 535 news organizations — including The New York Times, Reuters, and The Washington Post — have installed a blocker that prevents their content from being collected and used to train ChatGPT. Last month, over 1,000 Writers Guild East (WGE) members signed an open letter calling for AI Protections for journalists. Certain publishers like AP have set the first AI rules for journalists. With its rapid growth, regulation of AI will be a major focus in 2024.
AI’s Ongoing Impact on European News Media
Simona Colletta, Paris Media Relations Specialist
Similar to other parts of the world, European news media has watched as artificial intelligence technology has transformed content generation, fact-checking, data analysis, translation, customer support, and content moderation. While AI has proven beneficial for some, it has also raised important ethical and practical questions about content credibility and journalism job security.
European news organizations are actively working to strike a balance between AI's capabilities and journalistic ethics, and European governments and regulatory bodies are developing guidelines and policies to address AI's role in the news media landscape.
Starting in 2021, the European Union began creating regulations related to AI. EU’s AI Act was designed to address the ethical, legal, and social implications of AI. Earlier this year, negotiations took place on the proposed legislation. An ongoing process, we’ll likely see these discussions continue into 2024.
Here are three ways AI regulations may impact PR professionals and journalists:
- Transparency and Content Quality: PR and journalism organizations may need to disclose when AI systems are involved in content creation. AI regulations will require stricter quality control and verification processes, and all AI-generated content such as automated news articles or press releases will need to prove they meet certain standards and are factually accurate.
- Data Privacy: GDPR already governs data privacy in the EU, and AI regulations are likely to be built upon these principles. PR professionals and journalists must be vigilant about the data they collect in AI-assisted activities and ensure they comply with privacy regulations.
- Impact on Employment: While AI technologies can increase efficiency, there are concerns about potential job displacement or changes in job roles. Regulations encourage organizations to ensure that AI complements human roles rather than replaces them.
Due to the newness of AI technology, we are still witnessing changes and effects on the media industry. Over time, we’ll see the impact – good and bad. With continued regulations and human overview, there are likely to be more benefits than drawbacks for journalists.
Key 2024 Social Media Trends and the Prevalence of AI
Alex Mikhail, Los Angeles Media Relations Specialist
The utilization of social media has become inherent to any role within journalism or public relations today. Journalists must use social media to both keep up with and break news, connect with their audience, and promote themselves. Many social media trends such as short-format video content, the impact of influencers, and the integration of advertising and shopping will continue in 2024. Live streaming and story posts are also here to stay and are an efficient way to connect with one’s audience, ensuring the most visibility. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Muck Rack will continue to be vital for networking, with 65% of B2B marketers claiming they will increase their LinkedIn usage next year. The success of User-Generated content will also grow, as social media users look for authenticity and relatability.
Like the past several years, 2024 will come with its own set of developments in social media. Major players such as Meta (Facebook, Instagram, and Threads), Twitter, or X as it is now known, TikTok, and others are looking to evolve.
Our prediction for the most impactful social media trend in 2024 is the integration of Artificial Intelligence with social media platforms. In the past 3-4 years, the prevalence of AI has increased drastically with the implementation and usage of models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Going into 2024, platforms such as Meta and X have already invested heavily in AI-based integrations. This will further enhance any platform’s ability to accurately predict content users’ interests and lead to more sophisticated personalization. The most recent example of social media integration is an AI model from Elon Musk’s new company, xAI, called ‘Grok’. Grok will leverage X to “expand its real-time knowledge of the world” and be available to X Premium+ paid subscribers.
In 2024, AI will be relied on by all content creators from journalists to influencers due to its ability to generate campaign concepts, caption ideas, text-to-image generation, and more.
Data Privacy Trends for 2024
Matthew Allinson, Director of Global Media Relations
2023 represented a seismic shift in terms of data privacy laws in the United States, with five states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia) passing statutes modeled after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was created in 2016 to help protect their citizens’ privacy. Seven other U.S. states passed GDPR-like laws that will start being enforced between 2024-2026.
The general philosophy of GDPR is that data privacy is a fundamental human right, and the data user should decide how their data is used. In light of countless breaches of data affecting global corporations and millions of citizens, governments big and small across the globe have passed or are in the process of creating data privacy laws. China created the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) in 2021 and Saudi Arabia recently released the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Personal Data Protection Law (SAPDP). In 2024, privacy laws will go into effect in a wide range of countries including Bolivia, Suriname, Iran, and Pakistan, just to name a few.
Not complying with data privacy laws can carry real and substantial penalties. Amazon was recently fined $886 million for non-compliance with GDPR laws. Tiktok was fined €345 million for the misuse of children’s data. And Meta, who owns Facebook and Instagram, ran afoul of the Irish Data Protection Commission and was fined €1.3 billion for transferring European Union users’ personal data to the United States.
To stay abreast of the latest developments in global privacy laws, we recommend reviewing or bookmarking this resource.
European Content News Inclusive Trend: Bridging the Gap for Disabilities and Diversity
Catriona Gilmour, London Media Relations Specialist
The importance of inclusive news content cannot be overstated. Ensuring that information is accessible to all is not just a matter of ethical responsibility but also a legal obligation in the UK and European Union. World Wide Web Consortium’s guidelines (W3C's WCAG) provide an important framework for web and mobile accessibility.
The past five years have seen an increase in accommodations such as:
- Alt Text and Image Descriptions: To cater to consumers with visual impairments, news websites and social media platforms include alt text and image descriptions for graphics and photos. These descriptions can be read aloud by screen readers, enabling everyone to access the information.
- Closed Captions: Videos, especially in short-form and vertical format, have become a prominent medium for news delivery. Closed captions not only benefit the deaf and hard of hearing but also aid comprehension for groups with disabilities or neurodivergent consumers.
- Readable Fonts and Clear Formatting: News websites are adopting easily readable fonts and clear formatting to assist individuals with dyslexia or other reading-related challenges. This simple change significantly improves readability for a broader audience.
- Plain Language Summaries: Many news outlets now provide plain language summaries alongside complex articles.
- Customisation Options: News platforms are introducing features that allow users to adjust settings, like font size, contrast, and background color, accommodating diverse needs and preferences.
The drive to make news content accessible is a positive step towards creating a more inclusive society. This not only serves to enhance access to information but also enriches the overall news experience for a broader readership.
Moving forward into 2024, we are likely to see AI and Machine Learning tools being used to drive consistency in user experience.
By promoting accessible content, news outlets are ensuring that everyone, regardless of their unique abilities, can stay informed and engaged in our ever-evolving world.
Unveiling the Media Market Potential: Discovering Opportunities Amidst Constraints in Greater China
Ronald Chung, Hong Kong Senior Media Relations Specialist
Media organizations in the Greater China region are constantly seeking innovative ways to capture and engage audiences, especially in the era of mobile internet and digital platforms. Thanks to the valuable insights provided by our affiliates, Interfax China, we can delve into some key trends that are shaping the media industry in Greater China in the upcoming year, including the focus on vertical and categorized markets of in-depth and multimedia content, the targeting of high-end users with the use of AI, as well as the quest to reach potential audiences.
Media Focus on In-depth, Reliable Content Delivering in-depth news and information that adds value to the audience is crucial for success in the forthcoming news industry in the Greater China region. Chinese audiences prioritize reliability, seeking trustworthy sources that provide accurate and comprehensive coverage. Greater China media outlets thus prioritized investigative journalism, analysis, and fact-checking for their audiences to build trust and loyalty by going beyond surface-level reporting while offering in-depth insights.
Boom of Short Video and Live Streaming Looking to 2024, short video content and live streaming are expected to experience a significant surge in popularity in the Greater China region. These platforms, including Tencent News, have captured the attention of a large and engaged audience, offering immersive and interactive experiences. However, the future of these mediums will be facing stricter supervision as authorities aim to regulate content and ensure compliance with guidelines. Journalists and PR practitioners may need to keep in mind that increased scrutiny might require platforms to implement stricter content moderation measures and adhere to tighter regulations to maintain a secure and responsible online environment.
News Apps Targeting High-End Users with AI According to Interfax China’s June 2023 report, China has witnessed a staggering 1.42 billion mobile internet users, reflecting a year-over-year growth rate of 1.9% compared to 2022. Despite this impressive figure, total mobile traffic has now peaked, resulting in a plateau of user growth. This saturation has led to stable competition among the top news applications (APPs) vying for the attention of Chinese consumers. To differentiate themselves in this competitive landscape, media outlets are increasingly focusing on vertical and categorized markets, catering to the specific interests and needs of high-end users and targeted potential audiences.
Since news applications have already reached their peak in terms of traffic and user base in the region, to explore further market opportunities, news apps developed in the Greater China region, including Sohu News, are now employing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. AI-powered algorithms enable personalized content recommendations, catering to high-end users and segmented audiences. By leveraging AI, news apps can deliver tailored news experiences, improving user engagement and retention. This approach allows news apps to adapt to the evolving preferences and interests of their users, ultimately enhancing the overall user experience and expanding their market reach.
Digital Dynamism: A Deep Dive into Asia's Evolving Landscape
Ai Arakawa, Asia-Pacific Media Relations Manager
Let’s see the upcoming trends in other Asian countries than Greater China, starting in my country, Japan:
Generative AI and Authenticity In 2023, we saw many AI-curated stories become popular in Japan. One was from the popular Japanese green tea beverage company Ito-En. The company issued an AI-generated model in a TV ad for the first time in Japan and it went viral. However, there is a downside to AI-generated stories. A fake video of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaking at a press conference created with footage from a Nippon TV news program (without permission) circulated a few days after Kishida’s attendance at the AI Safety Summit. Due to the newness of this technology, PR practitioners and journalists are required to create more trustworthy information and disseminate information through reliable channels.
Reskilling For decades in Japan, it was the norm to be employed by one company until retirement. Most recently, employment standards and expectations have changed due to factors such as COVID-19, a decrease in the working population, and the introduction of generative AI. With the possibility of being replaced, workers are now taking it upon themselves to reskill. The need for reskilling has been introduced by the Japanese government as well as companies. In fact, GMO Media, a company providing internet media and digital content, hit a new high, revising its earnings and dividend forecast for the current fiscal year on the back of this reskilling demand. Based on this, the Japanese job market is anticipating increased attention and demand for related products and services in 2024.
Business Wire’s media partner Korea Newswire sees these three trends that will make an impact in their country in 2024:
- Content that Reflects the Interests and Values of Gen Zalpha The Korean content industry is at the forefront of change, driven by the emergence of the Zalpha generation (Generations Z and Alpha). Born after 1996, this generation are digital natives, highly proficient in digital technology and media usage. They expect seamless interactive content experiences. To meet their needs, it is recommended the Korean media and content industry invest in developing new and innovative content formats, as well as optimizing existing content for various mobile devices.
- The Rapidly Expanding Metaverse Market for Media and PR Experiences South Korea's booming metaverse market, with its focus on immersive gaming and VR, presents an opportunity for companies to acquire new customers and strengthen existing relationships by communicating with consumers in the metaverse and providing them with unique experiences. For example, companies could host virtual concerts or events, or create metaverse-exclusive products or services.
- The Rise of ESG Marketing as a Strategic Imperative The country's ESG Infrastructure Expansion Plan, launched in August 2021, aims to empower the private sector to systematically respond to growing global ESG discourse. Large corporations are leading the charge in ESG management, which is gaining traction among Korean consumers. Media relations products and services highlighting ESG management are expected to proliferate in 2024. Companies must strengthen ESG management and actively integrate it into their PR and marketing strategies.
Influencers are the New Story Tellers in India According to Business Wire India, a strong trend coming out of India is the growing might of the influencer. An influencer is anyone who has dedicated followers who trust their opinions and depend on their advice. They might not have the fan following of celebrities, but they have enough credibility to sway opinions.
We see a clear shift from traditional events and press conferences to influencer-driven campaigns. With the increase in social media usage, interactivity, and the quick spread of content that it offers, brands are increasingly focusing on maintaining relations with their existing influencers and connecting and collaborating with new ones. Brands are depending less and less on celebrities and mass media to drive their messages but instead focusing on influencers to connect them to their target audiences.
According to Statista.com, “As of 2022, the influencer marketing industry in India was valued at over 12 billion Indian rupees. It was projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent over the next five years. The industry’s market value was further estimated to amount to 28 billion Indian rupees by 2026. Nearly 55 million urban Indians were direct consumers of influencers of various kinds as of 2022.”
Southeast Asia Leading Gaming Market Growth Business Wire’s media partner Thai Business News shared that gaming is emerging as a new trend in Southeast Asia. This is based on the fact the region generates $6 billion in market revenue and hosted nearly 300 million gamers in 2023. According to Allcorrect and Newzoo, Thailand and Indonesia are the two biggest players in the region, having revenue of $2.9 billion altogether. Singapore also sets its sights on the market, as stated by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan at Gamescom Asia, a regional spin-off of one of the world’s largest events for computer and video games held for the first time in three years.
The media and media relations landscapes are undergoing transformation as we head into 2024, and staying ahead of these changes is pivotal for effective communication. The insights and predictions shared by our Media Relations Team shed light on key trends that will shape the industry in the coming year. Embracing the potential of AI, navigating data privacy regulations, fostering inclusivity, and staying attuned to regional trends are crucial for media professionals to thrive.
Get the latest PR, IR, Marketing and Media tips on the Business Wire Blog. Subscribe today!