AI, Fighting Misinformation, and the Future of Journalism: Media & Journalism Track Sessions for SXSW 2019

The Media & Journalism Track at SXSW 2019 offers a deep dive into the fast-changing media landscape. From March 8-14, during the SXSW Conference, the Media & Journalism Track will delve into the conversations, challenges and innovative ideas impacting the way content is produced, distributed and consumed across the media industry.

"Programming within the Media and Journalism Track examines how these pivotal industries are being reshaped by the convergence of technology and culture," says SXSW Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest. "Some of the most prominent trends within these sessions include rebuilding trust in journalism, the advancement of AI in the newsroom and in content selection, the next iteration of deep fakes, and monetization for new content models amid media consolidation."

Don't miss out on these crucial conversations! Join us this March to stay up to date on the profound shifts happening in the world of media and journalism. In the meantime, take a look at some of the impactful sessions already announced for 2019.

Media & Journalism Session Highlights

AI and the Future of Journalism

Speakers: Rubina Fillion (The Intercept), Elite Truong (The Washington Post), Meredith Broussard (New York University), and Emily Withrow (Quartz)

Artificial intelligence is already revolutionizing the news industry, as organizations use machine learning to automate thousands of stories, sift through massive data sets to find trends and outliers, and build bots that scale individual conversations with their audiences. That's just the beginning. But as the potential for artificial intelligence grows, so do the ethical implications. This session will explore the pitfalls and possibilities of how AI will transform the way we report — and consume — the news.

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Easy to Fool? Journalism in the Age of Deepfakes

Speakers: Erica Anderson (Google), Paul Cheung (Knight Foundation), Jeremy Gilbert (The Washington Post), and Kelly McBride (The Poynter Institute)

Simpler tools and more powerful processors have democratized synthetic video — more commonly known as deep fakes. Like photos once were, video is still commonly proof that something happened but suddenly it’s possible to fictionalize actual news video. What does this mean for journalists and their audiences? How do synthetic videos threaten trust in the news media? And how can the media aggressively pursue scoops without risking their credibility in a fast-moving news cycle? What tools exist — or should exist — to detect potential fakes? Who is fighting the potential spread of synthetic videos and what can we do about it?

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Newsrooms Need More Women: Ending Gender Imbalance

Speakers: Amanda Bennett (Voice of America), and Norman Pearlstine (LA Times)

There are many more women graduating with journalism degrees than men, however, men continue to dominate today’s newsrooms. Why does the newsroom culture seem to favor men? The problem is particularly evident in national media outlets and in major markets. More male anchors, more male experts, more male bylines. Pulitzer prize winning journalist, editor, and author Amanda Bennett will lead a conversation on the issue and share what she has learned in her efforts to advocate for more women in news media. Ms. Bennett helped initiate efforts at Bloomberg News and at Voice of America to elevate the role of women. The integration of higher technology in the news gathering process has not always helped. It is no secret that the number of women in tech jobs also trails that of men.

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Fighting Misinformation and Defending the Open Web

Speakers: Markus Beckedahl (Netzpolitik), Geraldine de Bastion (Global Innovation Gathering), Nanjira Sambuli (Web Foundation), and Jillian York (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

The spread of misinformation is becoming an increasing problem in countries around the world. In particular during election times, social media platforms have been used to strategically to influence public opinion – from the Philippines, to Kenya, from Germany to the USA. Lack of net neutrality and the dominance of platforms like Facebook with its zero rating services are contributing to this becoming an increasing problem for democracy.

Internet activists from Africa, Europe and the USA will give insights into different government attempts to introduce new legislation combating the spread of misinformation as well as civil society strategies to defend freedom of speech and promote access to pluralistic information sources.

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The Future of Programming Across Platforms

Speakers: Kay Madati (Twitter), Teal Newland (Conde Nast Entertainment), Tim Peterson (Digiday), and Wonbo Woo (WIRED)

Viewers consume video content differently across various digital platforms. As a result, creators must produce with specific audiences in mind to optimize engagement. Big Content, Any Screen: Reach Viewers Everywhere is a panel that will discuss reaching a new audience on any screen for iconic brands as well as diversifying programming strategies to accommodate new technologies.

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Browse More Media & Journalism Sessions

Join Us For SXSW 2019

Purchase your SXSW Badge and reserve your hotel today to experience these sessions along with 10 days of screenings, showcases, exhibitions, networking, and more this March 9-18 in Austin, TX.

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Featured Image - Photo by Andy Nietupski

By Ari Roth