Hello there,

Until a year ago, Janneke Bosch from Omroep Brabant was sceptical about the capabilities of artificial intelligence. However, in a passionate speech at the CIRCOM Regional Annual Conference, she captivated the entire audience.

When you watch the video, you’ll understand why smartocto is eager to collaborate with Omroep Brabant. This regional broadcaster has been highly innovative for at least 15 years, making it part of the digital forefront in the Netherlands and beyond.

It’s no surprise then that the broadcaster introduced an AI newscaster for some online articles. Visitors who prefer watching videos over reading can now see the news presented by a familiar face from the presenter pool. It’s an AI clone of Nina van den Broek. According to the editor-in-chief, visitors have responded enthusiastically.

From our perspective, what Janneke Bosch showcased at CIRCOM about other experiments at Omroep Brabant is even more intriguing:

  • Headline suggestions from smartocto.ai to assist with headline testing.
  • Suggestions for alternative paragraphs where readers tend to drop off, from smartocto.ai.
  • Ideas for follow-ups written from a different user need perspective, also from smartocto.ai.

Janneke's account is balanced, describing the challenging initial steps but also clearly stating what the newsroom is already gaining: “It saves us a lot of time and it’s easier to come up with new ideas.”

She’s also candid about AI rewriting paragraphs: some words still don’t quite match Omroep Brabant’s tone of voice, but by continuously training and feeding the system, it’s only a small step before AI reaches the level of human editors.

Implementing a new tool

Since the advent of generative AI, numerous tools have been knocking on the door of the modern newsroom.

It is crucial to separate the wheat from the chaff, avoid jumping on every hype, and most importantly, maintain control over what happens in the newsroom.

In a new client case, our own Olga Nemčanin shares her observations on what happens when news publishers experience doubt. Together with consultant Ed Walker, she offers tips on how to effectively integrate a new tool, such as smartocto, into the organisation.

Editor-in-chief Twan Bovée of the Dutch sports website Sportnieuws.nl also shares his experience with the onboarding and implementation of smartocto.

What's holding you back?

We thought it might be helpful to identify some common obstacles from recent conversations about onboarding and implementation.

What’s stopping you from using an AI-driven tool like smartocto? Together with Aleksandra Radivojevic, Coordinator of Support and Success at smartocto, we discuss these pain points:

  1. The current tool does not meet expectations, but there’s still a contract to honour
  2. The fear that the tool won’t be used enough
  3. A newsroom is different from a tech or software company. These cultures might clash.
  4. There is currently not enough budget for the tool we want
  5. There is already so much changing in the newsroom. There’s a concern that employees can’t handle more change.

Maybe you recognise your own reservations in these five common issues we hear about often. Fortunately, there are workarounds. 


  • A survey by Axel Springer reveals that many media outlets are already using AI in various ways, both in editorial systems and in acquiring and retaining subscribers. Only 3 percent of respondents do not use AI at all.
  • In the realm of AI, there is also another significant development. Besides Axel Springer, Le Monde, and Associated Press, the Financial Times has recently struck a deal with OpenAI. The creator of ChatGPT will be allowed to train their model with the publishers' content. Read at Niemanlab how the deal is structured.
  • Have news publishers given up hope that micropayments could contribute to their business? Not entirely. INMA writes about the developments, such as ease of use, and shows that the idea is still worth exploring.
  • With elections coming up in Europe, and also in the UK, this is an interesting piece from The Guardian about push notifications. It suggests that those who send push notifications from the BBC to millions of users might be the most influential in the campaign.


At the end of the newsletter, we want to highlight once more the speech by Janneke Bosch. We also have a question for you, as a subscriber to this newsletter: what would you like to know about artificial intelligence? Which themes or tools do you think are underrepresented? We might include your suggestions in the newsletter in two weeks.

Until then! 

Team smartocto