Hey there,

Here we are again with a new newsletter. As announced two weeks ago, we are increasing the frequency we send these out, not because we like the sound of our own voice, but because we believe we have a lot to share, especially in this month of 'smartoctober.'

Behind the scenes, we've been working on creating more AI-driven features - and we're ready to flick the switch. We’re excited that we are ready to show you the first results of that effort right now, and in the coming weeks we will provide more details. 

Our newsletters, blogs, and other communications are primarily intended to take media professionals on the path to the future of online media. Sometimes, though, the very nature of our industry’s job provides a painful reminder of why we need to embrace innovation in order to maximise the effectiveness with which we deliver our central promise: to deliver news and information where and when it’s most needed. 

With an explosion of violence in Israel and Gaza, it has once again become clear that journalism is grappling with how to respond to affairs that are difficult to predict. The challenge is to maintain a focus on reporting important events while keeping an eye on the direction journalism itself is heading.

Blog about biggest trends and best practices

If you're not entirely sure whether you're making the right investment in Artificial Intelligence, it's worth taking a good look at what's happening in the field of media already.

Our first smartoctober blog provides a good introduction and shares the outcomes of a recent and extensive survey conducted by JournalismAI, in which they consulted 105 news and media organisations spanning 46 different countries, on the subject of AI and related technologies.

Our blog aims to address three key questions:

  • How are media outlets currently utilising AI?
  • Who is spearheading AI strategy and its implementation?
  • What steps can you take to develop and implement an effective AI strategy at your own news organisation?

Thanks to JournalismAI, these steps are already laid out for anyone willing to follow them. Lead researcher and noted media commentator and academic, Charlie Beckett, not only understands the needs of the media but also advises caution against potential pitfalls. He emphasises the significance of human oversight, and his advice is simple: "Don't rush to use AI until you are comfortable with the process."

AI tool for recognising user needs

While deepfakes and troubling misuse of Artificial Intelligence are making headlines and steering the course of conversation around the subject of AI, there are brilliant, smaller scale AI tools and use cases that have the potential to be utterly transformative at our collective fingertips.

Our second blog of smartoctober set the spotlight on 3 use cases. Check the link below if you’d like to read them all, but for this newsletter we want to highlight one. Smartocto has developed a tool that, thanks to artificial intelligence, can aid in identifying user needs. 

Currently in beta, the user needs analysis tool allows you to input the text of any article and from here algorithmic wizards in the code will then analyse it to unveil which user need(s) it addresses.

Check it out: userneeds.smartocto.com

user needs tool

Meet smartocto.ai: empowering news media with artificial intelligence

In this webinar, we’ll be introducing smartocto.ai. While it will be a summary of the key themes, contributions and insights discussed throughout smartoctober, we’ll also introduce what smartocto adds in terms of AI. We'll present five simple yet effective ways to introduce AI to your newsroom.

1️. advanced headline testing
2️. automatic content classification (including user needs)
3️. smart story rewriting
4️. timing optimisation
5️. an intelligent virtual assistant

Whether you’re a journalist, a media pro, marketeer or simply passionate about the future of news, this webinar is designed to help you discover how AI and editorial analytics work together and receive expert tips on guiding newsrooms into the exciting AI era.

Reading tips

  • Are you investing in courses for editors so they can improve their Photoshop skills? Soon, that won't be necessary, and it will also take less time, thanks to the application of AI in Adobe. Check this short clip and be amazed.
  • AP released the results of several AI-focused projects developed with local news outlets. Four of the case studies are now available.
  • “News is as important as anything, but if I were to cut one [subscription], I would first think of cutting my news subscription before any other.” A new study from Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, quoted by Niemanlab, examines how people in three countries are thinking about paying for news subscriptions.
  • Traffic referrals to the top global news sites from Meta's Facebook and X, formerly Twitter, has collapsed over the past year. Axios points out that website business models that depended on clicks from social media are now broken.
  • How the New York Times uses Instagram as an engagement channel and testing bed is the focus of an INMA webinar featuring Tyson Wheatley, director of Instagram at The New York Times.


The editorial team of smartocto will continue writing about Artificial Intelligence during smartoctober. Keep an eye out for the next two blogs:

Next week - How AI is changing editorial analytics (blog)
Final week in October - AI as a virtual assistant for newsrooms (blog)

And don't forget to sign up for the webinar, where our CEO Erik van Heeswijk will explain how AI will strengthen and elevate our features to a new level.

And in two weeks, there will be another newsletter!

Until then,

The smartocto team