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Saturday, 17 November 2018


Journalism has been battling many challenges over the centuries. Some strategies call for a little rethinking of the business model. Others require radical shifts. Some internal and external shocks can also be safely ignored. But not when the jobs of news producers, presenters, or video editors could be on the line.

In a remarkable indication of how disruptive technology can be, machine generated content could now favourably compete with professionally and user generated content.

The news reader above looks and sounds like any other person answering to that kind of job description.

But he is not real!

It's all about computer algorithms and its associated programing techniques

And efficiency here, is the key word.

Say there is breaking news or a significant news event that needs to be urgently broadcast.

It will not be so strange to hear of how some Kenyan newsrooms almost go into panic mode, frantically looking for talent to go on air with the news.

Actually, that is how some careers in news anchoring start: Being available at that critical moment and dressed for the part of rescuing the station from losing audiences, or even revenue.

That's why the computer-generated virtual presenter could be a useful addition-always ready to work 24/7.

Some critics say these 'mechanical' presenters lack the human touch that is critical in making an emotional connection with the audience.

But I'm sure there are those who feel that's how news should be delivered, devoid of any 'sideshows' popular in many Kenyan news channels.

Using powerful algorithms, it's now also possible to have computer-edited video content from a significant event,  containing a summary of key information, which the virtual presenter can broadcast.

Unbelievably, this can be done in a matter of minutes after the event!

So for those thinking of a career in news production, presentation and video editing, now's the time to get familiar with the concepts of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and the Internet of Things.

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