“AI presents a significant opportunity to support the work of our journalists and enable us to better serve our readers,” wrote Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan in a memo on The Post’s next steps in AI innovation. The rest of Ryan’s email follows:
Although it has increased in discussion recently, for several years, our AI/Machine Learning teams have been exploring ways to incorporate AI into our operations. This has included the ForYou recommendation system, comment moderation models, Heliograph, subscription propensity models, and churn models. The recent Washington Post AI hackathon also generated many exciting ideas with active participation from engineering, product, analytics, and newsroom teams.
We are excited to announce another important step to harness the power of generative AI at The Post. To navigate the opportunities ahead, we are establishing two cross-functional teams to drive innovation with this exciting technology – the AI Taskforce and the AI Hub.
The AI Taskforce will include senior leaders from across the organization charged with establishing the company’s strategic direction and priorities for advancing our AI capabilities. This group will meet regularly to provide governance, direction, and insights about AI usage throughout The Washington Post. The initial members of the AI Taskforce are Engineering (Patrick Burton), Product (Jessica Gilbert and Bailey Kattleman), AI Hub (Sam Han), News (Sally Buzbee and Justin Bank), Editorial (David Shipley), Legal (Jay Kennedy and Kalea Clark), Subscriptions (Mike Ribero), Revenue (Kate Davey and Johanna Mayer-Jones), PR (Kathy Baird), Analytics (Venkatesh Varalu) and Finance (Steve Gibson).
The AI Hub, led by Sam Han, will be an operational team from across the company created to expedite our AI initiatives and foster cross-functional cooperation. This group is composed of a small full-time team, as well as some matrixed resources from across the organization. The AI Hub will spearhead The Post’s experimentation, collaboration, and proof-of-concept AI initiatives company-wide. It is also accountable for coordinating efforts and ensuring alignment of our AI projects with the strategies, guardrails, and priorities established by the AI Taskforce, while also focusing on future innovation.
This is only the first step in establishing AI as a priority opportunity for The Washington Post. As we learn more, we will adjust team structures and allocate resources that will deliver value and results. We are thrilled to be embarking on this exciting journey, and we are confident that our efforts will help transform the way consumers receive news and information. We look forward to collaborating with all of you as we drive this initiative forward.