Putting AI Where Reporters Actually Work, With Ryan Restivo

There are thousands of generative AI tools for content, and some actually work well. Generative tools can create SEO headlines, social copy, document analysis, and lots more for reporters and editors, all ready to enhance your productivity.

However, there are roadblocks to incorporating these tools in day-to-day work. Beyond the basic concerns about quality and hallucinations, often the workflow itself is the issue: Incorporating a new tool typically means another login, another browser window open, and a new app to get familiar with. Then, if you’re constantly copying and pasting from the tool to your CMS and back again, the gains in efficiency start to drop. In other words, GenAI has the best chance of being effective when it’s integrated into existing workflows.

That’s the magic of YESEO, a tool developed by Ryan Restivo in partnership with the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) at the University of Missouri. While there are any number of tools that will serve up SEO headlines for news stories, YESEO was created specifically for Slack, the collaboration platform found in almost every newsroom.

I spoke to Ryan about developing YESEO — which he began before the general release of ChatGPT — how newsrooms can develop a pragmatic approach to generative AI tools, and what a reporter’s workflow looks like in a future world where GenAI tools are as common as spellcheckers.

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