Google’s Digital News Initiative has committed £622,000 ($805,000) to fund an automated news writing initiative for U.K.-based news agency, The Press Association. The money will help pay for the creation of Radar (Reporters And Data And Robots), snappily named software designed to generate upwards of 30,000 local news stories a month.
The Press Association has enlisted U.K.-based news startup Urbs Media for the task of creating a piece of software that turns news data into palatable content. Once up and running, the team is hoping the software will be able to fill in some of the gaps that are currently being under-serviced as the universal financial strain being experienced by newsrooms around the world deepens.
It’s similar to a model The Associated Press has employed for a while now here in the States, mostly tackling financial and niche sports stories. A quick Google News search of the tell-tale tagline “This story was generated by Automated Insights” reveals hits from news outlets across the U.S.
In a news release heralding the financial commitment, Press Association Editor-in-Chief Peter Clifton called the move a “genuine game-changer,” stressing that the partnership will focus on stories that might not otherwise be written up as local newspapers continue to die off in this massive fourth-estate extinction. Of course, he was also quick to add that the move won’t do away with the human touch entirely.