Will Google’s Digital News Initiative be a threat to journalists?

By : |July 10, 2017 0

Google’s Digital News Initiative (DNI), launched in 2015, is funding a large British news agency- The Press Association (PA) to build a software for automated news writing. The funds, to the tune of $805,000 will help to create ‘Radar’ – Reporters And Data And Robots, basically a software that will generate over 30,000 local news stories a month.

The Press Association will work on the project with the UK-based news startup Urbs Media specializing in combing through large open datasets and turning news data into palatable content. Radar will see journalists identifying national open databases from government departments, local authorities, NHS Trusts and more, and creating detailed story templates across a range of topics including crime, health and employment.

Team work- Robots and Humans

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If you think, this is another example of robots taking over human jobs, well, the situation isn’t as grim as we would like to believe. Notably, the project would be a team work between robot reporters and human journos. People will be involved in the curation and editing of the stories and, hopefully, help limit the possibility of accidentally publishing incorrect information in an era when “fake news” is an equally barbed insult on all sides of the political spectrum.

There will be five journalists to identify datasets, as well as curate and edit the news articles generated from Radar. “Skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process,” said Peter Clifton, the editor in chief of the Press Assocation in a statement. “But Radar allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually.”

For Clifton, automated reporting could be vital in the times of extreme financial pressures on media outlets, helping to cover important local stories — albeit with fewer people involved in the process.

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