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.

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Why and how what we do is unique

At United Robots, we see ourselves as a service provider within news automation. We design, build and support the whole chain of actions required to get it up and running continuously within an organisation.

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.

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.

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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