Could robo-reporters replace journalists?

Web Log: Research suggests automated news bots miss context, nuance and humans’ ‘nose for news’

Researchers say robo-reporters covering a soccer match could blindly keep score but would miss out on an historic match or a riot.

Researchers say robo-reporters covering a soccer match could blindly keep score but would miss out on an historic match or a riot.

 

Robo-journalism, or automated journalism as it is also known, is a piece of software that can take structured data (league tables, crime rates) and turn them into a news report. This is particularly useful in beats such as crime reporting, sports and finance where plenty of this kind of data is readily available.

Organisations including Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and Forbes are already using this kind of software to automatically generate content. These robo-journalists can potentially save money by replacing human staff who are carrying out time-consuming but relatively simple forms of journalistic work.

Media experts from the University of Zurich and LMU Munich suggest this solution is overly simplistic and misses out on the context, nuance and “nose for news” employed by people. Giving the example of coverage of a football match, they point to external but important events that are more newsworthy; robo-reporters would blindly keep score, missing out on an historic match or a riot.

http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/news/newsarchiv/2017/thurman_robo_writing.html