"The skill of a journalist is to respond to the needs of the audience. Readers are looking for support, advice, information, they want to be up-to-date, and meanwhile many journalists, instead of fulfilling these needs, create content 'by force', to which the audience is lured by clickbait titles," says Paweł Pilarczyk. Pawel is not only the owner and editor-in-chief of ITbiznes.pl, but also an active promoter of new technologies, electromobility, and sometimes even a mechanic! He talks about his technological adventures on Instagram, Facebook or Tiktok. We talked about the condition of the journalism, the challenges of automotive and whether (or actually when) AI will start writing interesting news.
What skills do you consider key for a journalist and how do you work to develop them?
First and foremost, the ability to find reliable information and data, and verify whether it is true or false. The job of a journalist is to provide the reader/listener/viewer with true, objective and verifiable information, and the worst thing that can be done is to pass off fake news as supposedly true information.
In my work, I always try to check information in several completely independent sources, and if there are inaccuracies, I verify the data with experts. Fortunately, after years of working in the industry, I know who to contact with particular topics.
Another skill of a journalist is to respond to the needs of the audience of his content ( reader/viewer). They are looking for support, advice, information, they want to be up to date, and meanwhile many journalists, instead of fulfilling these needs, create content "by force" to which readers are lured by clickbait titles.
I myself always try to get information directly from readers – I read their comments, talk to friends (and strangers) and, based on the collected data, compile a base of topics that are of most interest at the moment (some "live" much longer – they are so-called "ever-greens").
What is the most important task of a journalist these days?
I have already partially answered this question above – a journalist should provide readers/viewers with reliable and true knowledge. Provide them with the latest, verified news. Help them solve problems. Answer the questions that are on their minds.
How will AI affect the work of journalists 1 year from today?
AI, and especially generative AI, is already automating more and more tasks that are monotonous and time-consuming for humans. A year from now, AI will be writing news for journalists. It is already doing this today, but at present it is still making a number of mistakes. In my opinion, in a year's time, news stories created by AI will already be indistinguishable from those written by journalists (or copywriters). This will relieve journalists of the tedious work (which is undoubtedly the writing of ordinary news), but those less skilled or taking their first journalistic steps will simultaneously take away work. Instead, professional journalists will be able to focus on creating content that requires a (still) human mind: columns, analysis, brilliant interviews. Today, such content is scarce, especially on the Internet, and the discerning reader doesn't have much choice when looking for this kind of material. This is partly because journalists capable of producing truly interesting articles today waste their time writing boring news stories. Soon they won't have to do that anymore.
What do you think the ideal relationship between PR and journalism should look like?
PR professionals and journalists are mutually dependent on each other and should live in symbiosis. A good PR specialist is a source of invaluable knowledge for a journalist, often without which he or she would not be able to produce complete material. But it also requires a very professional approach to the work on the part of PR professionals themselves, who should gather as much detailed information as possible about the area they are dealing with, so that they can answer any question a journalist may have, but also throw up interesting ideas and issues that perhaps they would not have come up with on their own.
A PR professional cares about conveying to the world the information that is important to the agency's client. Journalists are happy to help with this, but the information must be interesting to readers in the opinion of the journalists themselves (who know their readers best). But a good journalist also knows how to "sew" an interesting article even on an uninteresting topic, and can point out to the PR person the areas that need special emphasis.
Finish the sentence: If I don't write, I...
...I do a million other things. I record TikToks, test cars or motorcycles (both mostly electric), record podcasts or sit in the garage and fix any of my several scooters. I don't watch TV, series on Netflix, I don't party – I don't have time for it and/or I've grown out of it.
What do you think the ideal vehicle of the future should have?
It depends on how far into the future we're talking about. In the somewhat distant future, vehicles will fly. Perhaps they will be personal transportation vehicles – that is, one vehicle=one person. I imagine it as a capsule in which we comfortably sit down, and it takes to the air and flies with us to our destination – fast, quiet, comfortable and safe.
In the nearer future, the ideal vehicles will simply be autonomous, driverless cars. As above, we get into the vehicle and by voice (or using a smartphone or its replacement) indicate our destination. The vehicle drives us, and in the meantime we relax, read a book, watch a movie or connect on videocall with co-workers or friends.
Tell us about the most exciting behind-the-wheel experience you've had in your journalism career.
My best memory is a visit to the Porsche test track in Leipzig, Germany, where Creative Labs (maker of Sound Blaster sound cards) held a press conference a dozen years ago. It was my first time to get behind the wheel of thoroughbred sports cars – both very fast (Porsche 911) and off-road (Porsche Cayenne). Driving a 911 on the track at the limit of this car's capabilities, as well as a demonstration of the Cayenne's off-road capabilities – these were the elements that impressed me at the time. I remember the event and remember it very fondly to this day.
Since then, I have participated in similar events, drove cars of a similar class, but no more events have caused me a "wow" effect like that first visit to the Porsche track.
What major challenges do you see facing the automotive industry and what might be the consequences?
The first will be the final choice of how to store energy in electric cars – whether it will be batteries or perhaps hydrogen after all. All indications are that the battle will be won by batteries (at least in passenger cars), nevertheless the "hydrogen faction" is still very strong and also has a number of strong arguments that make the victory of batteries not so obvious at all. Perhaps both types of electric cars (battery and hydrogen) will be offered on the market at the same time, and charging stations in the future will provide both electricity and hydrogen (just as today at a gas station we can fill up with gasoline, but also diesel).
Another challenge will be those associated with putting autonomous cars on the road. The technology for autonomous driving is already there, with most car companies having it. However, legislation (traffic law) and road users themselves are still not ready for modern solutions. The automotive industry needs to convince drivers, passengers, but also pedestrians that autonomous cars are safe and that they will dramatically reduce the number of accidents and injuries and deaths. However, it will still take years before everyone believes this.
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