German tabloid newspaper Bild is set to undergo significant changes as it adapts to a digital-only future. The publication plans to cut several hundred jobs while embracing artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
In an email sent to employees on Tuesday, Axel Springer revealed its plans to streamline operations and focus on digital publishing. The company intends to reduce Bild’s regional editions from 18 to 12 and close two-thirds of its regional offices. Berlin will become the central hub for producing the regional newspapers and managing regional reporters.
As a result of these changes, traditional roles such as editors, photo editors, and proofreaders involved in print production will be significantly affected.
While the exact number of job cuts remains undisclosed, it is estimated that around 200 positions will be eliminated, representing a substantial portion of the current workforce. However, Axel Springer emphasized that the move towards digitalization and the utilization of AI were the driving forces behind the restructuring, and the job losses were not directly related to the implementation of AI technology.
According to a spokesperson for Bild, AI will serve as a supportive tool for journalists, allowing them more time and space for creative endeavors. The spokesperson emphasized that the results produced by AI should always be verified and validated by human journalists.
Nonetheless, the internal memo from Axel Springer outlined the necessity of an AI offensive in preparation for the transition to digital-only publishing. It acknowledged that the majority of positions involved in print production were at risk of being replaced by AI or rendered unnecessary in the digital realm.
Axel Springer expressed regret over the separation from colleagues whose tasks could be automated by AI or those who may not find a suitable role within the new digital framework. The company acknowledged that AI advancements could soon enable complete automation of the layout process for the printed newspaper.
As Bild undertakes these significant changes, it aims to position itself as a leading digital publication, leveraging AI to enhance journalistic practices.
While the transition may result in job losses, the newspaper seeks to strike a balance between technological advancements and the expertise of its journalists, ensuring the preservation of quality journalism in the digital era.