Session examines future of journalism in AI world


By Haidy Abdelazim

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH — Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proven to be a powerful tool in journalism and journalistic storytelling, according to speakers at an event organized by the American University of Sharjah’s Risk Analysis Club in collaboration with the MCM Club on April 20.

Dr. Sabir Haque, an assistant professor of mass communication from the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, joined Prof. Dr. Mohammed Ibahrine of AUS’s Department of Mass Communication for a talk on AI and its role in journalism.

The event began at 4 p.m. Moderator and AUS faculty member Dr. Norita Ahmad, director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) and a professor of marketing and information systems, introduced each speaker and their notable publications to familiarize attendees with them.

Organizers said the talk was meant to be beneficial for journalism concentration students taking their first major courses, as it provided them with a glimpse into the future of the “knowledge economy.”

The speakers shared input on how bots offer new ways for people to explore information, and how data mining is used to alert journalists to potential new stories. 

Haque said machine learning algorithms can be trained to control bias, saying “If we are able to protect local journalism, we will serve the local community better. … Only then we can see a very hopeful future in journalism.” 

Ibahrine offered a different interpretation. “Journalism does not have a future, it has many futures,” he said. 

Towards the end of the event, the floor opened for questions. Closing remarks included Ahmad’s statement that students should “not be afraid of technology.” Ibahrine added that “It is very challenging to be a journalist…but you are the agent of change that has the power.”

The event was held on Zoom and around 60 people attended.