As more news stories are written using algorithms that compile data and format it for publication, what is the outlook for careers in journalism? Or for many other writing jobs?
While journalism students have a right to be concerned, this particular technological disruption could be a positive step for those reporters willing to step up to the challenge.
… the use of algorithms on routine news tasks frees up professional reporters to make phone calls, do actual interviews, or dig through sophisticated reports and complex data, instead of compiling basic information such as dates, times and locations.
“It lightens the load for everybody involved,” he said.
Reporters currently involved in writing basic, mundane news stories may find themselves out of work. Overall, the total number of workers in this industry may decline, perhaps partly offset by the rising number of computer scientists needed to create these programs.
Narrative Science, a pioneer in robo-writing, recently announced plans to expand into other business areas. The idea is to turn data into insight.
As an example, think of customized end-of-day portfolio summaries instantly produced for upper management and investors, audiences that may want to see the same figures in different formats. Furthermore, rapidly generated texts can be produced at scale, such as individual portfolio summaries for firms with a long client list. Other examples included investment research, in one case producing 35,000 reports per month for a company that previously struggled to manually produce 10. The takeaway: “If you have data, we can tell a story.”
Narrative Science uses Quill, an “artificial intelligence engine” that “discovers” ideas.
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According to the BLS, the job outlook for reporters, writers, and editors is average or below average.