Knight Center
Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Intelligent algorithms could convert data into journalistic materials




Technology does not only change the way news are written, but also changes who is writing them. With access to data sets and when directed by journalists, intelligent algorithms are now able to write simple news on sports, economical or juridical issues

The company Narrative Science uses such algorithms, which are programmed to search for data and specific notifications and to select the most relevant of them to create stories almost automatically, according to Vanguardia. Another similar company is Automated Insights, which also looks for patterns and key information in data sets to automatically create written or visual content.

Kristian Hammond, the Narrative Science’s co-founder and director of technology, has said that the intention is not to replace journalists, but to complement their work by transforming the increasing amount of data -- such as financial and sports statistics -- into stories and freeing their time for other endeavors. 

The algorithms of Narrative Science already help media outlets like Forbes.com to write brief notifications. Hammond believes that the technology will become even more complex and capable in the future and said that in the following years, it could help cover a greater variety of topics and might even win a Pulitzer Prize.

Even though there are no signs indicating that journalism will become completely automatized in the next decades, this technology is part of the tendency to transfer tasks based on strict rules and routines to machines, The Atlantic said.

For the moment, media outlets could make use of the benefits automation brings about, just like Forbes does with its financial briefings and Vanguardia with programs that retouch and produce more than 90 percent of their photos.



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