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Robot Journalism: Don't Wait 'Til it's Too Late


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At the moment, business, finance and sports are at the core of automated journalism because they are based on data, algorithms and corporate texts that can be translated into (good) written articles or data visualisations. Yet there is a variety of unexpected domains where robots can help journalists — but not replace them!

Lou Ferrara, Vice President and Managing Editor, The Associated Press (AP)

Moderator: Geir Terje Ruud, consultant, Norway

Published in: Technology
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Robot Journalism: Don't Wait 'Til it's Too Late

  1. 1. AUTOMATION, MAY 2015
  2. 2. ROAD TO AUTOMATION – Started in December 2012 – with a theory. – Explored to understand. – Tested football rankings, sports stories. – Eureka moment related to business news.
  3. 3. WHY? – Tight staffing. – Customer demand. – Yet diminishing value for labor involved. – Unchanged process since dawn of time. – Other opportunities with greater value: “We have better things to do with our time.”
  4. 4. HOW? – Winter/spring 2014: Prep, contracts, tests. – July 2014: Announced, semi-live tests, invested in AI. – October 2014: Launched live to wire.
  5. 5. PREPARATION July 6, 2015 ASSOCIATED PRESS and other footer info – Team of five people. – Semi-live testing. – Adjustments, changes. – Retrofitting v. innovating. – Full live.
  6. 6. RESULTS July 6, 2015 ASSOCIATED PRESS and other footer info – Freed about 20 percent staff time. – Reconfiguring reporting assignments, core business desk. – Refocus on coverage of importance. – Staff, customers receptive and pleased.
  7. 7. NEXT July 6, 2015 ASSOCIATED PRESS and other footer info – AI sold in January, AP profited. – Business earnings: Nearly 5K a quarter by end of year. – Sports: NCAA agreement for D1 baseball, D2 and D3 collegiate sports. – Automation editor: What else can we automate in our processes or with data? – Future: Data viz, elections and more.
  8. 8. AUTOMATION, MAY 2015