Chat GTP gets a place in the editorial office at De Zaak

While many publishers are exploring the role of AI in media, few editors have actually experienced Chat GTP’s usefulness. That does not apply to Justus Fokker. He took over the B2B media brand De Zaak 3 years ago. Fokker, a self-confessed nerd, has been working since this year to give Chat GTP a place in the editorial office.

De Zaak, especially many older people still know the former magazine for entrepreneurs. Fokker, together with his companion Max Verhoeven, is working on a second, mainly digital life for this brand. “The case has existed for thirty years and was taken over by us three years ago. We have turned it into a fully digital publication. We support entrepreneurs with content about all peripheral matters involved in doing business, such as laws and regulations, taxes and personnel management. We offer online articles, newsletters, business services and a helpdesk for business questions,” explains Fokker.

Chat GPT quickly saves hours of work

Fokker’s background lies in technical product management. He also has a background in marketing. “I am always looking for repetitive processes in our company that can be automated for greater efficiency. When Chat GTP became available, I immediately saw the possibilities of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into our work processes. One of the first ways I started using it structurally in my work is for writing Excel formulas. Although I’m an Excel nerd, I couldn’t match the speed at which Chat GTP writes working formulas. That quickly saved me hours of work.”

Help with programming

Chat GTP is also used by media companies as a programming aid. Fokker: “Another example that sparked my interest was using AI in programming. While I’m not a brilliant developer, Chat GTP suddenly allowed me to program on a completely different level. One of the projects in which we have used Chat-GPT is the development of a Chamber of Commerce link and a WordPress plugin. This allowed us to link our website forms to the Chamber of Commerce database. This has saved us a lot of time and eliminated manual work. We now know much better what type of companies are in our e-mail database because we have linked company name, Chamber of Commerce registration and SBI codes using Chat GTP.”

A chatbot is not an editor

Because Chat GTP is a text-based AI, many publishers hope that Chat GTP can generate articles to support or spare editors. There is a risk here. Not only on finding the right content, many chatbots are simply not smart enough yet. There are also challenges in terms of copyright, because Chat GTP bases output on random texts found on the internet.
Fokker: “For example, I recently had Chat GTP make a top-10 list of biographies of Dutch entrepreneurs, but when I googled the titles, it turned out that 70% did not exist. Still, they were all very credible titles of biographies. So I don’t entrust editing work entirely to AI.”
The editors of De Zaak do not use AI to write entire articles, but they do, for example, come up with frequently asked questions for an article and provide an initial draft. Justus Fokker does not see Chat GTP as an editor, but rather as an editorial tool.

A one-minute video script

Even more examples. The editors of De Zaak asked Chat GTP to make ten options for catchy titles for an article or to write a set-up for social media messages for an article. “We also ask it to create a script of one minute of spoken text based on a long article for a short social video. It’s not easy to keep up with video production with a small team. And AI can support the editors in this. You can ask Chat GTP to convert an article into a video script and then convert it into an AI video.” Fokker uses the Synthesia tool for automatically generated video. Synthesia automatically creates video from text. The animation of the video is mainly due to graphic elements and the flow in and out of the texts themselves. “I have automated that conversion process and now I can have a 1-minute explainer video made with an article at the touch of a button. Unfortunately, I am not yet convinced of the naturalness with which it comes across. But with the speed at which developments are going, that will not last long either.”

Chat GTP mainly supports the final editing

The editors of De Zaak use AI to check articles against their editorial formula before the editor-in-chief gets started. All other texts, such as summaries, social media messages and video scripts are always checked by the final editors. “You have to look at it this way”, explains Fokker, “Chat GTP is now especially suitable for supporting the final editing. Especially by combining Chat GTP with our current tools and CMS, we can make our small team work even more effectively. I think this is one of the most important lessons: integrate AI into the tools your team already uses. That ensures rapid adaptation.”
Justus Fokker should note that he is on a developer version of Chat GPT, which gives him the opportunity to provide much larger pieces of text as input. “I can put entire books in it and have it scanned within a second. Then you suddenly see what the real power of this AI is.”

Opportunities for publishers

Justus Fokker sees opportunities for publishers to use Artificial Intelligence to improve editorial processes and increase output. “By outsourcing part of the writing work to AI, editors can spend more time checking and editing the content, ensuring quality,” says Fokker.
Fokker also sees opportunities in the distribution of content. “A piece of content has to make a journey to readers, and at almost every step in this process, AI can provide a more efficient way of working. I am very excited about what is possible here, even though it sometimes scares me how fast the development is going,” says Fokker.

Tips for working with Chat GTP

Fokker concludes with a number of tips. “An important tip is not to treat AI as a separate program for which you have to go to a separate website, but to integrate it into the existing workflows. This allows editors and publishers to take full advantage of the benefits that AI offers.”

See for yourself what you can do with Chat GTP? Through this link you can experiment with it