Matt Carlson has written an interesting piece of research (£) into ‘The Robotic Reporter’: namely, automated journalism where articles are written by algorithms. His interest lies largely in the “technological drama” of competing narratives and cultures – but along the way he identifies some developments and implications which appear in the minority of reports beyond those recurring stories of “augmentation or elimination” (of journalists’ jobs), but which may be more interesting. By way of background here, it’s worth emphasising that automated reporting is already playing a significant role in the news industry, with AP announcing last year that “software will write the majority of its earnings reports”. Last year also saw the publication of research that showed that people couldn’t tell the difference between articles written by journalists, and articles written by software.
The ‘Metajournalist’ and the return of personalised news: research on automated reporting | Online Journalism Blog