News automation: The publishers’ treasure trove

We’ve been automating news since 2015 to fit with the business and journalism strategy of dozens and dozens of publishers. We have learnings to share.

This is our newsroom knowledge hub
– feel free to explore.


Why volume is the real star of news automation

For the publishers we work with, there is one aspect of automated content that really stands out. One key value they leverage – namely the volume of texts the robots can produce. Time and again we see it. Media companies discovering the real benefit of news automation when they start using it to provide coverage where there previously was none. For sports e g, it means you can set up a publishing timeline (see image) for every league, every match, every reader – all generated automatically.

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Journalists & robots working together – the story in 1 minute

The world's newsrooms face a double challenge: Producing more relevant journalism for their readers, with fewer editorial resources. 
Here's how United Robots can help:

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Only a pragmatic approach to NLG delivers reliable robot journalism

Every month we send hundreds of thousands of robot written articles to news publishers in Europe and North America. Almost all of them are published directly onto sites and apps without going through any editorial checks, so predictability is key when texts are generated. In order to ensure this reliable language quality we have developed our own flavour of Natural Language Generation, pragmatic NLG.

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Publishers who don't at least consider using robot texts are missing out

Crises always drive automation: that’s not a threat, it’s an opportunity. Automation supports the journalistic mission and publishers who don’t at least consider using robot texts for basic reporting are missing out.

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When robots drive inclusive journalism

Update: The Q&A function won a third place in the Best New Technology or Digital Product category of the 2020 Global Media Awards.

Talking to a BBC journalist the other day, I was laying out the drivers behind newsroom automation at Swedish local media groups. We agreed it sounds somewhat contradictory that robots now play an active role in creating journalism that involves hundreds – thousands – of people that were rarely seen in local news stories before. I was talking specifically about our Sports robot’s Q&A function, which – we’re very happy to say – has been nominated in INMA’s 2020 Global Media Awards.

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Real estate vertical Bostadspuls generate +20% CPMs

In the 12 months October 2018–October 2019, the property bot generated 61,800 articles for Bostadspuls (automatically published). The CPM levels for this Home Sales premium advertising environment is around 20% higher than the average Mittmedia CPMs.

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Robot texts underpin regional football site

Klackspark uses United Robot’s sports robot for the blanket coverage of all matches down through division 6. For the 2019 season (Apr-Oct) the sports robot generated a total of 1.2 mi page views, 450,000 of which were logged-in.

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Hyperlocal real estate articles drive reader engagement at Mittmedia

With the real estate bot, the average number of articles (per local site) increased from 2/month to 480/week. The volume of articles as well as the volume of logged-in pageviews increased, thus driving engagement and retention.

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Key success factors when deploying automated content

Automation in the newsroom – many publishers talk about it, relatively few have any actual experience. Where do you start? How do you generate any real benefits? It may sound like a technical issue, but the tech is actually the most straight-forward part. This blog lays out some of the top success factors for newsrooms deploying automated content and explains how it’s all about improving journalism and growing business. 

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