This publishing giant shuts down its news outlet to replace journalists with AI

Axel Springer, the German publishing giant, announced the closure of the news outlet Upday on Friday, with plans to relaunch it as an AI-driven “trend news generator.”

The logo of German publisher Axel Springer is seen outside its headquarters in Berlin August 7, 2013. (REUTERS)

The current form of Upday is set to shut down by the end of the year, and the revamped service is expected to debut in the summer of 2024.

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“Axel Springer will utilise the Upday brand for a new trend news generator exclusively driven by artificial intelligence. With this initiative, the media company is exploring the opportunities that this technology presents for journalism and the news industry,” the company said.

A spokesperson confirmed that jobs at Upday are being cut during the transformation, and the company will explore if affected staff can find positions elsewhere within the group.

Out of the initial workforce of 150, 70 staff members remain.

Starting next year, Axel Springer will use the UPDAY brand, initially on a smaller scale, for a new AI-driven platform, the company announced.

“I am looking forward to seeing how the new product will leverage the opportunities and possibilities of AI,” said Thomas Hirsch, CEO of UPDAY.

Originally created as a news service for Samsung devices, the product “Upday for Samsung” has been pre-installed on Samsung cell phones and other devices since the 2015 deal between Axel Springer and the South Korean company, expanding into 34 European countries.

The service will remain accessible to users on existing Samsung devices during a transition period lasting over a year, according to the statement.

Axel Springer, the owner of leading German tabloids Bild and Welt, along with the U.S. political news website Politico, is strategically shifting from print media to digital news.

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