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When reporters get hands-on with robo-writing: professionals consider automated journalism’s capabilities and consequences


Thurman, Neil; Dörr, Konstantin; Kunert, Jessica (2017). When reporters get hands-on with robo-writing: professionals consider automated journalism’s capabilities and consequences. Digital Journalism, 5(10):1240-1259.

Abstract

The availability of data feeds, the demand for news on digital devices, and advances in algorithms are helping to make automated journalism moreprevalent. This article extends the literature on the subject by analysing professional journalists’ experiences with, and opinions about, the technology. Uniquely, the participants were drawn from a range of news organizations—including the BBC, CNN, and Thomson Reuters—and had first-hand experience working with robo-writing software provided by one of the leading technology suppliers. The results reveal journalists’ judgements on the limitations of automation, including the nature of its sources and the sensitivity of its “nose for news”. Nonetheless, journalists believe that automated journalism will become more common, increasing the depth, breadth, specificity, and immediacy of information available.While some news organizations and consumers may benefit, such hanges raise ethical and societal issues and, counter-intuitively perhaps, may increase the need for skills—news judgement, curiosity, and scepticism—that human journalists embody.

Abstract

The availability of data feeds, the demand for news on digital devices, and advances in algorithms are helping to make automated journalism moreprevalent. This article extends the literature on the subject by analysing professional journalists’ experiences with, and opinions about, the technology. Uniquely, the participants were drawn from a range of news organizations—including the BBC, CNN, and Thomson Reuters—and had first-hand experience working with robo-writing software provided by one of the leading technology suppliers. The results reveal journalists’ judgements on the limitations of automation, including the nature of its sources and the sensitivity of its “nose for news”. Nonetheless, journalists believe that automated journalism will become more common, increasing the depth, breadth, specificity, and immediacy of information available.While some news organizations and consumers may benefit, such hanges raise ethical and societal issues and, counter-intuitively perhaps, may increase the need for skills—news judgement, curiosity, and scepticism—that human journalists embody.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:08 Mar 2017 11:41
Last Modified:27 Apr 2018 06:53
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:2167-0811
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2017.1289819

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