We are living in an ever changing society as we are witnessing the emergence of many techno tools and methods that are redefining space in the newsroom.
According to a research article by Matt Carlson, The Robotic Reporter, the term auto journalism denotes algorithmic processes that convert data into narrative news texts with limited to no human intervention beyond the initial programming choices. It has the ability to create thousands of news stories for a particular topic in a cheaper and more efficient way. Unsurprisingly, according to Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism, this has sparked fear for professional journalists as they feel that this new development may exterminate newsroom jobs.
What these journalists need to understand is that this new development still requires them to be around. Yes, algorithms are able to generate news faster, at a larger scale, and potentially with fewer errors than human journalists – without their intervention and yes algorithms can use the same data to tell stories in multiple languages and from different angles, but without the watch of human journalists algorithms produce data and assumptions, both of which are subject to biases and errors. It is not human and does not have the ability to observe, ask questions and relate. I thus believe that with its strengths and weaknesses, both automated journalism and human journalists can merge to create a new kind of journalism as expressed in Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism as a “man-machine marriage.”
Though journalists may not think so, they are given many benefits from the development of automated journalism, not only in a professional capacity but also in a personal capacity. They will be challenged to create faster and cheaper news outlets for their audiences. This will challenge them on a personal level because it will make them analyse their ethics and routine as to how they deliver content.
In Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism he explains that society will benefit from this development as it will decrease the burden of looking for news stories relevant to them.
“In automating traditional journalistic tasks, such as data collection and analysis benefits include increasing the speed and scale of news coverage and most importantly it allows for news to be produced almost immediately, making the audience, who are the most important people to consider, feel a part of what is being shared with them.” Guide to Automated Journalism. That right there is why I have a passion for journalism.
Automated journalism is emerging. As journalists and ordinary citizens, let us not only support this emergence, let us become a part of it.