Why journalists should care about the writers’ strike

Ace Sevigny | Staff Writer

There may be a new normal in the world of entertainment as the Writers Guild of America’s strike is heading into its fourth month. Writer’s rooms are not immune to the pressing issues that are plaguing various workplaces throughout the country.

There is one job field that should be paying particular attention to the Writer’s strike, journalism.

While there are major differences between the two career paths, the world of journalism and screenwriting mirror each other in many facets.

Wages and residuals are leading factors in the Writer’s Guild reasoning for striking but there is another looming factor that reporters should be paying close attention to as there are many parallels.

The use of Artificial Intelligence is being used to replace human creativity.

A.I. is not a substitute for human creativity. It crushes the individual while removing the soul that ignites innovative thought.

The implementation of A.I. is becoming more appealing to some of the major studios. According to an article from Time, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the association negotiating for major studios such as Apple, Amazon, Disney, Netflix and Paramount, have suggested A.I. as a cost effective tool to write movies and TV shows.

Newspaper companies are following suit.

Less than six months ago, the Daily Mirror and The Express published articles written using A.I. And while the largest newspaper chain in the U.S., Gannett, has paused the use of A.I. after the technology made several mistakes in articles, it’s only a matter of time before they revisit the technology.

It is not a direct correlation, but both screen-writing and journalism operate in a system constantly looking to cut costs, leaving both artforms at risk.

It appears obvious that using A.I. in entertainment is nothing more than just a cash grab. There would be no nuance, and many scripts would end up repetitive and bland.

Real art requires a level of creativity, and without it we wind up with just pictures on a screen.

Journalism operates in a similar fashion. While it is much harder for technology to replicate what a reporter does, that does not mean economically cahllenged publications will not be using A.I. to save a few dollars.

Only the human experience is capable of relaying emotion to paper. The ability to draw on life and relate to a mass audience to breathe inspiration into an audience cannot be replicated no matter how many programs or updates are given.

Another sticking point for the Writer’s Strike is the collapse of the writer’s room. The Los Angeles Times reported that historically studios often employed more than a dozen scribes to churn out enough TV episodes to fill a network season.

The idea behind having large rooms is that it increases diversity in storytelling. Recently, according to the Los Angeles Times the size of writer’s rooms have shrunk because streams order fewer episodes of a series.

Newsrooms across the United States are going through the same struggle.

According to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the media industry announced at least 17,436 job cuts so far this year, making it the highest year-to-date level of cuts.

Newsrooms and writer’s rooms are a place for creative minds to collaborate and brainstorm ideas. These are a staple of the writing process. Some of the best journalism is created when people work together.

Becky Hartman Edwards, a veteran showrunner, expressed her concern in an interview with the Los Angeles Times “I have always been in writers rooms and benefited from multiple points of view,” Edwards said. “Younger writers are missing out because they are not going on set, and they are the creators of the future.”

These rooms are an essential part of the writing process. The dwindling down of creative minds gathering together hurts new writers who will not be getting the same experience that seasoned writers had.

To coin an old phrase, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.

The entertainment industry, like journalism, is being endangered by greed which puts our culture at great risk of losing these treasured art forms.

Reporters should be aware of the currently changing environment and the devastating toll that could come with it.