Axel Springer CEO Eyes Digital-Only, Warns AI Could Replace Journalism

Axel Springer, the German publisher of Bild and Welt, sees itself as a “truly digital, transatlantic media company,” CEO Mathias Döpfner said today as part of an article on its website. 

But in an internal letter to staff, Döpfner warned, “Artificial intelligence has the potential to make independent journalism better than it ever was – or simply replace it,” The Guardian reports.  

Döpfner also said that ChatGPT and other AI tools could bring a revolution in information, and would be better at aggregating information than journalists, The Guardian continues. 

Separately, Döpfner reiterated, “Our goal is digital only.”

In a move that mirrors events at other publishing firms,, Axel Springer is proceeding with a restructuring that will create a more decentralized organization.



Döpfner affirmed  that “we want and are implementing more entrepreneurship. More responsibility.” 

Both the Bild and Welt brands will be supported by a marketing unit headed by Christoph Eck-Schmidt and Julia Wehrle, the company writes.  

Döpfner added that the company’s restructuring will leas to job cuts, mostly in central functions. No number was provided. 

No reporters, authors or specialist editors will be cut in this round. But Döpfner warned, “This is not a job guarantee. We will part with colleagues in the editorial teams if certain profiles no longer fit the required skills.” 

The company hopes to improve its earnings by 100 million euros. 

The CEO continued, ““Journalistic creation is becoming the core of what we do. Journalistic production is becoming a by-product, more and more technically supported and automated. This means a reorganization of newsrooms and shifting of staff and costs.” 

He added, “Understanding this change is essential to a publishing house’s future viability,” and said, “Only those who create the best original content will survive.”

Despite the conversion to digital, print will still play a role for now.  

 “Print is still profitable today and indispensable for readers and advertising clients,” Döpfner added. “That’s why the complete switch to digital will still take a few years. But we have to prepare for it and actively tackle the transformation.” 



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