After experimenting with automated reporting since 2015, Reuters is changing tack slightly with a new automation tool: cybernetic reporters.
At NICAR on Friday, Reuters’ editor of news production systems, Padraic Cassidy, took the wraps off Lynx Insights, a new in-house automation tool designed to augment reporting by surfacing trends, facts, and anomalies in data, which reporters can then use to accelerate the production of their existing stories or spot new ones.
While Reuters has used automated reporting for years, Cassidy said that the process was not only expensive and time-consuming, but often resulted in articles that were transparently written by a machine. “After looking at those stories, we decided to be sensible about it and made it so that machines can do what they’re good at and marry that to what humans are good at, which is judgment, context, quotes, and insight,” he said.
Via Lynx Insights, which Cassidy said was “much more sane, less expensive, and quicker-to-market,” Reuters reporters can easily surface key data related to their stories. A markets reporter, could, for example, use the tool to quickly determine the total value of merger and acquisition deals for a given year.