Media Moves

Bloomberg bureau chief on using AI to find stories

August 5, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

Yinka Ibukun

Ian Harrison of Concordia University interviewed Yinka Ibukun, West Africa bureau chief for Bloomberg News, about her job.

Here is an excerpt:

Your mandate is huge. How do you choose what to cover?

I’m currently training an artificial-intelligence tool used at Bloomberg to pick up certain topics on social media and in news reports. The tool allows you to ‘thumbs-up’ or ‘thumbs-down’ suggestions to teach the machine what you find interesting. At the moment, I’m teaching it to catch core Bloomberg stories, like anything relating to cocoa — the two biggest markets in my region, Ghana and Ivory Coast, account for more than 60 per cent of the world’s production.

We follow market news, politics, oil, telecommunications and infrastructure, among other topics. With COVID-19, we’ve been following how various countries are dealing with the pandemic from both health and economic perspectives. Western countries are dishing out trillion-dollar stimuli to protect jobs and businesses but the countries in my region run small governments and people are more or less on their own. So part of the coverage is what that means for people, economies and governments.

And then there are those timeless stories where all you need is a news hook to build a narrative around, like opportunities to highlight socio-economic or gender inequalities, for instance.

The challenge is threefold: monitoring, selecting and choosing a format to present the story. In all three aspects I get support from reporters, editors and various teams.

Read more here.

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