News Automation: The rewards, risks and realities of 'machine journlism'

Hanna Tuulonen (Editor), Carl-Gustav Linden (Editor), Asta Bäck, Nicholas Diakopoulos, Mark Granroth-Wilding, Lauri Haapanen, Leo Leppänen, Magnus Melin, Tom Moring, Myriam Munezero, Stefanie Siren-Heikel, Caj Södergård, Hannu Toivonen

    Research output: Book/ReportReport

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    This report focuses on a specific part of news automation: the automated generation of news texts based on structured data. This is not about crystal ball gazing. News automation is already making itself felt in the daily life of newsrooms, and the examples presented in this report show how automation can aid journalism as well as the implications, and the ethics involved.
    Media outlets face ever-growing commercial pressure to extract higher margins from dwindling resources and that is a key driver for news automation. Right now, one of the main goals of automated content is to save journalistic effort, especially on repetitive tasks, while increasing output volume. Automated production is foremost a tool, aiding and creating additional content.
    One of the characteristics of what is labelled "automated news" is that its focus is on writing stories that journalists cannot or do not necessarily have the time to write. The good news is that so far, news automation has not replaced humans, and looks set to work alongside humans in the newsroom.
    For all the hype about "robot journalism" we are more or less in the same spot as three years ago. AI has a hype problem and we need to put aside our Hollywood-inspired ideas about super-advanced AI and instead see the automation process as a logical extension of the Industrial Revolution. The future of automation lies in decomposition, or deconstruction, of the fundamental principles of journalism. That means breaking down journalistic work into the actual information artefacts and micro processes to analyse what can be automated and what are inherently human tasks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages48
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2019
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study


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