Washington Post Resorts to Replacing Journalists With AI Bots After $77 Million Loss

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Washington Post Resorts to Replacing Journalists With AI Bots After $77 Million Loss

The Washington Post is seeking to replace its reporting staff with artificial intelligence (A.I.) after posting a whopping $77 million loss over the past financial year.

Semafor media industry editor Max Tani, the paper’s CEO and publisher, Will Lewis, said the outlet will be incorporating A.I. across the company.

“I totally get that there is a huge fear of A.I. everywhere,” Vineet Khosla, the Post’s chief technology officer, said.

“But I want us to go beyond the fear. The way I see us operate is we have A.I. everywhere.”

“We have A.I. in our newsroom; we have A.I. with our consumers; we have A.I. in the business… Start thinking of it as a copilot.”

Tani reported:

Washington Post CEO Will Lewis is introducing the paper’s new “Build It” plan today. In a meeting with staff, he noted that the paper lost $77 million over the past year, and saw a 50% drop off in audience since 2020: “To be direct, we are in a hole, and we have been for some time.”

Lewis says the says the three pillars of the new strategy are: great journalism, happy customers, and making money: “If we’re doing things that don’t meet all three…we should stop doing that.” He adds that the company will also be looking for ways to use A.I. in its journalism.

A.I. is a major component of the Post’s internal strategy announcement today. WaPo’s chief tech officer told staff that going forward, the paper has to have “A.I. everywhere in our newsroom.” Lewis says the company is focused on growing subscriptions organically but is open to growing them through an acquisition if it makes sense.

Recently, the outlet’s owner, Jeff Bezos, indicated that he would no longer subsidize the company’s losses.

The shift towards A.I. coincides with the announcement of a $250 million agreement between NewsCorp and OpenAI.

The agreement will give the company access to content from NewsCorp’s various properties, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and The Times of London.

Yahoo reported:

“Plans have already rolled out to have A.I. voices read certain newsletters to readers, but expansions are planned into more parts of the newsroom — like article takeaways generated by A.I. but edited by the outlet’s journalists.

They also plan to incorporate a new tiered subscription model with additions like “Post Pro” and “Post Plus,” aimed at professional and diehard readers respectively, and a pay-per-story method for readers who may just be interested in a single article.”

“We think that we’ve been a one-size-fits-all organization for too long, so we’re excited to create a new set of consumer and professional products that better meets the needs of our multi-faceted audiences,” chief growth officer Karl Wells said.

“I really hope at some point in the future, when you look back on this day, it’s actually quite a significant day in the history of our company,” Lewis said.

READ: Jeff Bezos’ Ex-Wife Dumps $640M in Donations to Left-Wing Causes: Trans Athletes, Migrants, Climate Change

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