The Washington Post Tells Staff It’s Pivoting to AI

The Washington Post Tells Staff It’s Pivoting to AI
The Washington Post Tells Staff It’s Pivoting to AI

Already facing scandal, the Washington Post‘s new-ish CEO and publisher, Will Lewis, has announced that the newspaper will be pivoting to artificial intelligence to turn around its dismal financial situation.

As Semafor media industry editor Max Tani tweeted, Lewis told Post staffers today that the newspaper will be looking for ways to use AI in its reporting as it seeks to recoup some of the $77 million it lost last year.

“To speak candidly: We are in a hole, and we have been for some time,” the CEO said, per an announcement. “This is all repairable, all doable, particularly if we do it together.”

The paper’s chief technology officer, meanwhile, announced to staffers that going forward, WaPo is to have “AI everywhere in our newsroom,” according to Tani. It’s unclear, however, what exactly that directive will entail.

A former NewsCorp executive who published the Wall Street Journal and was CEO of its parent company, Dow Jones, from 2014 until 2020, Lewis’ short tenure at WaPo has already been plagued by controversy.

After being personally tapped by WaPo owner Jeff Bezos for the gig, Lewis began working as publisher of the newspaper at the beginning of 2024. Almost immediately, reports about NewsCorp’s hacking scandal in the early 2010s, which involved the royal family and several celebrities, and which Lewis oversaw the response to, resurfaced. Along with it came new allegations published by the Daily Beast that he led a so-called “witch hunt” to find those responsible.

In another WaPo-related Tani scoop, Semafor reported today that the paper’s editors sought to downplay Lewis’ alleged participation in the coverup of the hacking scandal. Those reports came in light of a new UK ruling in a lawsuit brought by Prince Harry. Lewis and WaPo have both denied that he took part in any such coverup.

Notably, the newspaper’s announcement about its new revenue-boosting efforts doesn’t include any explicit mention of AI. Instead, it makes vague reference to experimentation with “new offerings over the next few months.”

Coincidentally, news of WaPo‘s AI pivot comes the same day as the announcement of a landmark deal between NewsCorp and OpenAI that will allow the AI firm to use content from the conglomerate’s properties, which include the WSJ, the New York Post, and the Times of London.

It’s a big day for NewsCorp and a big day for AI — and a bad one, we reckon, for the media as a whole.

More on AI in media: Meet AdVon, the AI-Powered Content Monster Infecting the Media Industry

The Washington Post Tells Staff It’s Pivoting to AI

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