The use of chatbots in news media platforms, although relatively recent, offers many advantages to journalists and media professionals and, at the same time, facilitates users’ interaction with useful and timely information. This study shows the usability of a news chatbot during a crisis situation, employing the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as a case study. The basic targets of the research are to design and implement a chatbot in a news media platform with a two-fold aim in regard to evaluation: first, the technical effort of creating a functional and robust news chatbot in a crisis situation both from the AI perspective and interoperability with other platforms, which constitutes the novelty of the approach; and second, users’ perception regarding the appropriation of this news chatbot as an alternative means of accessing existing information during a crisis situation. The chatbot designed was evaluated in terms of effectively fulfilling the social responsibility function of crisis reporting, to deliver timely and accurate information on the COVID-19 pandemic to a wide audience. In this light, this study shows the advantages of implementing chatbots in news platforms during a crisis situation, when the audience’s needs for timely and accurate information rapidly increase.
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