Editorial Resources, Trends & Insights

How To Explain Automated Journalism To An 8-Year-Old

By Alexandra Nicholson | Nov 5, 2015


Automated journalism has rapidly become a much-debated topic within the publishing industry this year. But many members of the publishing community still have some questions about what exactly automated journalism is, and what the controversial innovation means for their career. It’s important to have a clear definition of automated journalism that’s understood at all levels—and all ages—as more publishers consider adopting these types of solutions.

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So what is automated journalism?

Automated journalism is the practice of using technology to automatically produce news content. Nicknamed “robot journalism,” it uses algorithms to generate stories…no humans necessary. Through patterned searches, the technology finds relevant data and structures it to create a presentable piece of writing or media, including graphs, maps, charts, pictures, and videos.

What are publishers using automated journalism for? According to Lou Ferrara, who lead the Associated Press’s adoption of the platform Wordsmith, the AP utilizes automated journalism to save time and money by relieving reporters of information-seeking tasks for topics such as earnings reports and sports writing. The technology solution also collects information from databases continuously, so reporters don’t have to go back each week to update facts. Publishers are also using automated journalism to create weather reports, identify trending stories to write headlines, and to produce video. Have you heard of text-to-video technology? Check out our infographic!

Friend or foe?

Although the term “robot journalism” may have a sort of ominous, Sci-fi thriller ring to it, it’s much more benign than an 8-year-old might think. The goal of implementing automated journalism is to improve the efficiency of research and production, allowing journalists to focus on deepening their stories and expanding their news coverage.

Want to know what the future of news consumption looks like? Download our full report!

Alexandra Nicholson