OLD Media Moves

What’s inside the “cybernetic newsroom” at Reuters

April 5, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

Reg Chua
Reg Chua

Ian Burrell of The Drum writes about the “cybernetic newsroom” at Reuters where computers are trying to help reporters cover news.

Burrell writes, “Yet Reuters has concluded that early 21st century automatons still have significant journalistic deficiencies. ‘Machines write bad stories,’ says Reginald Chua, Reuters executive editor for editorial operations (data and innovation). So the cybernetic newsroom is developing into a hybrid operation, in which the robots do vast and increasing amounts of laborious data-sifting, while real people remain in charge of composing articles.

“‘Where humans bring incredible value – and it is very hard to replace this in the short run – is in judgment about what’s newsworthy, and how audiences are changing in what they are interested in,’ says Chua, speaking from the Reuters offices in New York. ‘Humans can talk to people and understand greater context and nuance and, of course, they are storytellers and to a large extent the job of journalism is to tell stories and engage people.’

“This realisation, which must come as a relief to the agency’s army of 2,500 journalists, doesn’t diminish his excitement at the agency’s embrace of automated journalism. ‘Machines can dig through a lot of data, language generation is improving every day and stories can be more finely tuned towards audiences,’ says Chua, a news veteran who spent 16 years with the Wall Street Journal and is a former editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post.”

Read more here.

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