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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.

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AI in the local newsroom and how it will attract talent

A newly published academic article flips the old popular premise of robots stealing journalists' jobs on its head. It argues that in a time when attracting talent presents a challenge, AI can actually help local newsrooms – in a couple of ways. For one, automation can take care of routine reporting – tasks that journalists are overqualified to do. Secondly, a newsroom at the cutting edge of tech is a more attractive workplace.

2022 – the year robot journalism heads into the mainstream

It's January and the annual Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions report from Reuters Institute lands on the news industry's virtual desks. Like previous years, the 2022 iteration – based on a survey of 246 media leaders across 52 countries – conveys a snapshot of an industry in constant change. From our point of view, this year marked a milestone. While AI in the newsroom has been discussed in the past few editions, the 2022 report for the first time mentions robot journalism specifically. This aligns with what we're seeing – over the past 12 months awareness of content automation as a newsroom tool has shot up. So let us provide a January 2022 snapshot of our corner of the business of journalism.

Time to bust some popular myths about robot journalism

Robot journalism as a concept has been around for some years now. The idea can inspire doubt and even dread in editors and journalists. Will the robots replace reporters, who controls them and how, can they be trusted – the questions are many. At United Robots, we and our publisher partners have worked with the reality of news automation since 2015. We see how the robot written content actually supports journalism and we think it’s time to address some of the popular myths that surround it.

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.

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.

Robot journalism: Scraping the internet vs using structured data

There’s an important discussion going on in our industry around the use of robots to produce journalism. Having worked in this field for several years now, we’ve heard sceptics question how it’s possible to build algorithms which create consistently reliable and correct articles. This concern is valid when the underlying data is collected by scraping the internet. But when you build your automated content on structured data sets, the risk of error is minimal.  

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