In a pilot study, the Institute examines the use of journalistic automation tools in Germany and analyses the role of “communicative robots” (ComRobs) in the fulfilment of journalistic activities and functions, from an interdisciplinary perspective of journalism research and law.
The pilot project aims at gaining first insights into the way "communicative robots" (ComRobs) are involved in the processes of creating journalistic statements and what implications for the legal protection and legal safeguarding of journalistic functions this has.
Therefore, we will conduct around ten qualitative, guideline-based interviews with journalists and other relevant actors in German media companies. The aim is to get an overview of the relevance and forms of using ComRobs in day-to-day journalism as well as the practical design of the integration of automation tools in journalism, primarily in the area of (investigative) research and content production. Besides, we will investigate how journalists experience and assess their agency when using automation tools. Conducting these interviews can help determine where ComRobs are already used in German newsrooms as either observers, autonomous communication agents or quasi-journalistic (pre-)decision-makers.
The increasing use of automation tools in journalism raises fundamental questions in social science-based journalism research as well as in law because their use in the research, production and distribution of content creates journalistic statements. These statements are partly conveyed by journalists but are also increasingly becoming the subject of public communication and opinion formation. Overall, this touches on the question of what role these "communicative robots" (ComRobs) adopt in the fulfilment of journalistic services (Loosen/Solbach 2020).
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