How can newsrooms make use of the new voice ecosystem? Is there a sustainable business model for the voice economy? GEN spoke with Matt McAlister, co-Founder and CEO of Kaleida Networks. He sees potential in voice AI that can provide automated answers to users and connect them to news organisations. While it is still too early to make predictions, Matt says 'voice technologies are making a lot of things possible, and we need people thinking beyond platform distribution as a model for news'. The dependency on Google/Amazon is real, but Matt is hopeful about the development of open source version competing tools. 
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PS: Interested in voice AI? Watch this GEN Summit 2019 session on The voice challenge: how smart speakers will change news consumption  

What We Learned at the GEN Summit 2019

The Global Editors Network just closed the ninth GEN Summit from 13-15 June at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens. We brought together 650+ editors-in-chief, senior news executives, start up CEOs,  journalists and academics to discuss 'The VVV Challenge: VoiceVisual Journalism & Verification', and more.

Here are some key takeaways:
  • The push for voice AI is real and voice search optimisation could become the new SEO, says Amy Webb, the Foudner of Future Today Institute.
  • Podcasts are striking a real chord particularly among the youth, according to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019. However, the monetisation model, which goes beyond advertising, is yet to be built.
  • 5G is set to dramatically increase the frequency of and access to mobile journalism. But Juliette Hollier-Larousse, AFP TV Director, says the fundamentals of reporting and the importance of specialisation remain.
  • The complicity of platforms in the spread of disinformation is real, but for Natalia Antela, co-Founder and CEO of Coda Story, the media industry might also have to do some soul-searching about how it contributes to the issue, and invest more in algorithm literacy.
  • Journalists are not media literate by default. 'We need to work out how journalists will transform large amounts of data into meaningful content and they need to be conscious about how this content will be used to as an educational tool for the audience', says Nikos Panagiotou, Assistant Professor from the Aristotle University.
  • AR/VR will soon be massified and the media needs to take heed. According to Dan Pacheco, XR consultant and Professor at Syracuse University: 'It is very important for every journalist to learn how to create stories that are spatial. Spatial computing is the future'.

Revisit Key GEN Summit 2019 Sessions

  • Fireside Chat between Jesper Doub and Matt Kelly in which Facebook promises a better compensation model for 'trustworthy' publishers
  • Keynote by Katharine Viner in which she shares 6 principles for the The Guardian that seek to foster meaningful journalism and financial sustinability
  • Lecture by Krishna Bharat about the impact of AI on journalism and democracy
  • John Micklethwait's keynote about quality journalism in the state of transition
GEN is proud to partner with Trint to offer you interactive and accessible videos with automated transcription. Visit the GEN Summit website and follow our key sessions with Trint!
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Worth a click

'We began by responding to some insights from Nic Newman of Reuters Institute, who we had heard from earlier in the Summit. He believes that while the monetisation model for podcasts is still just emerging today, it is important that we do not only look at making money right now, but in the long term as well. For example, The Guardian uses audio to both build loyalty and offer sampling of its journalism. Then for the real blockbusters, publishers can even explore paid models. But it is this loyalty aspect of audio that is sometimes overlooked.'  Mary-Katharine Philipps, Twipe

'Facebook has said it will enable “trustworthy” news publishers to generate additional revenue on its social media site, following EU accusations of Russian meddling in last month’s European election campaign.The announcement by Facebook came as the European Commission revealed on Friday that Russian disinformation groups had targeted May’s European elections with a series of malicious fake news campaigns.'  Samuel Stolton, Euractiv

'One option the company is considering is a dedicated space for news on Facebook, not revealing any specific details of what it would look like. Another is a tool allowing publishers to build subscriptions via the platform with pricing, data harvesting and contracts being determined by publishers and readers.'  Marcela Kunova,

'With users increasingly proving unwilling to pay for multiple subscriptions each month — and if the trend of having one news subscription persists — the industry finds itself in a dangerous position. If a reader is only going to pay for a subscription to their favorite news publication, that means precisely zero revenue is available for anyone else, if all they are offering are subscriptions. Publication A gets everything, and Publications B through Z get nothing.'  Cosmin Ene, Medium

'The 12 winners of the Data Journalism Awards 2019 were revealed on 14 June at an award ceremony and gala dinner during the GEN Summit in Athens. The jury, led by Reginald Chua and consisting of some of the most prominent leaders in the data journalism industry, picked the 12 winners and one honorable mention out of 103 shortlisted entries.'
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The Global Editors Network (GEN) is an international association which has gathered growing communities reaching a total of 40,000 members who share the same aspirations for news innovation and audience engagement, while protecting democratic values. GEN has four main programmes: Editors Lab, the Data Journalism Awards, European Media Literacy Toolkit for Newsrooms, and Startups for News. The organisation’s flagship event, the GEN Summit, gathers over 700 participants from 70 countries.

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