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Five questions for…

… Jenny Wiik, who will be working as Flexit Researcher at Medier & demokrati from 1 March.

Tell Us About Yourself! What will you be doing as a Flexit Researcher?
I will be running a research project that involves the automation and implementation of AI in journalism. So much is happening in the industry right now, and it is difficult to have a clear picture, but my project is designed to gather knowledge about these processes and identify the methods that work best to ensure that the values of the publicist are upheld when applying the new technology.”

Why did you apply for the position when it was advertised by Lindholmen Science Park and the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond?
“The focus of the advertisement on media innovation and democracy linked to future technology such as AI was extremely appealing and it is consistent and aligned with my area of research. I have been studying the ideals and practices of journalists for many years, and it feels natural to look at the digitisation of the industry from that perspective There is an unprecedented technological transformation in progress and it is important to look at how this is impacting the human and democratic aspects of news gathering operations.”

What are your goals for the research project?
“The goal is to gather knowledge based on successful innovation processes in the industry as well as in other sectors and condensing the knowledge and providing feedback to those it concerns. With this in mind, it is a huge advantage to have a neutral research role in that I am not involved in the competitive aspect of the market. It's not a question of corporate confidentiality, but I'm here to help strengthen journalism and ask constructively critical questions. At the end of the day, it is the democratic value of journalism that is my primary driving force.” 

What do you consider to be the most enjoyable and greatest challenge?
“I am most looking forward to being involved and contributing! Part of my time will be assigned to Lindholmen Science Park which means I will be an active part of the organisation. The actual research project is action-oriented and is designed to leverage research results fairly rapidly along with the continuous dissemination of knowledge, which could be viewed as a little different from traditional research projects. The greatest challenge will probably be to maintain my focus and not be drawn in too much by all the vibrant projects going on at Lindholmen. It will be an important undertaking to maintain a little distance and not compromise my academic independence.” 

Now you have been working at Lindholmen for a few days. What are your first impressions?
“I am at an exciting and dynamic meeting place where a lot of progress has been made in building fruitful partnerships that create new knowledge. There is a high energy level and a fast pace here and I think it's incredibly enjoyable.” 

ABC on Jenny Wiik and Flexit

* Research background: Journalism as a profession and democratic institution revolving around challenges that face journalism as a consequence of technological, economic and political changes. Doctoral thesis “Journalism in Transition” in 2010.
Lives: In Gothenburg and Malmö. On leave from the University of Gothenburg and Malmö University.
Media consumption: Mainly reads DN and DI + any interesting articles shared in my network.
On a day off: I sit at the breakfast table for hours and then I set off on an adventure, usually accompanied by a family member.
* Flexit: Three-year project designed to stimulate interaction between academia and the business community in which the researcher is employed by relevant companies for the first two years and returns to their academic career for the third year. Riksbankens Jubileumsfond is financing 75% of the researcher's salary, while companies and universities are financing the remaining 25% during their relevant years.