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Journalist Fellows' Papers

Putting Europe’s Robots on the Map: Automated journalism in news agencies

Reuters Institute Fellow's Paper

Alexander Fanta, a journalist at the Austrian Press Agency, has done the first comprehensive survey of automation in news agencies. The paper is called ‘Putting Europe’s robots on the map’. This is how Alexander describes his research:

"News agencies across Europe and the US have adopted machine-generated content over the past few years. Newsrooms from Oslo to Paris now produce thousands of simple stories a month on sports and finance with the help of algorithms. This paper aims to show how automation is changing the work and output of media organizations, and discusses the key role of data processing capabilities for automation.

The research highlights how ‘robot journalism’ creates new products for the news agencies and helps them to break the link between human work hours and output. Machine-written stories lack in depth and critical examination of the presented facts, but can provide a quick summary of new figures or a first version of a story. The paper lists examples of automation projects across several newsrooms and draws on expert opinions to discuss the limitations and the future of automation technology."

As with all Fellows’ research papers, any opinions expressed are those of the author and not of the Institute.