AI Case Study

Press Association generates 30,000 local news stories a month based on public open datasets and natural language generation

PA leverages technology from Urbs Media to write as many as 30,000 local news stories each month partially due to lack of staff to go through all the geographically segmented data. Using natural language generation, the solution analyses open datasets from government, public services and local authorities to generate the local stories.

Industry

Consumer Goods And Services

Media And Publishing

Project Overview

"PA is partnering with news automation specialists Urbs Media to have robots write as many as 30,000 local news stories each month.

The project is called RADAR – Reporters and Data and Robots – and is built on natural language generation (NLG) technology. That’s the technology behind Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, as well as the “chatbots” that we increasingly interact with when we contact a customer service department. But in the PA project, instead of answering angry customer messages, the bot’s job is to pen local news stories, based on whatever data it’s given. 

The data itself is open datasets from government, public services and local authorities. As Urbs Media editor-in-chief Gary Rogers explained, the company originally considered generating national news stories. But it soon became clear that, because the data is so geographically-segmented, it was better suited to local stories. “So instead of writing one story about a dataset – a national story – you could write 10 regional stories or 200 local authority-based stories,” says Rogers." (bernardmarr)

"A closed pilot began at the end of November, involving 35 regional titles from 14 publishing groups including Archant, Independent News and Media, Iliffe Media, Johnston Press, Newsquest, Midland News Association and Trinity Mirror." (pressgazette)

Reported Results

"About 30,000 local stories are created each month which otherwise would consume extensive resources."

Technology

natural language generation (NLG)
"Urbs turned to NLG specialists Arria and their Articulate Lite tool to deliver the AI power behind the project. The tool allows a reporter to write one news article and then create multiple, potentially hundreds, of different localised versions, at the push of a button."

Function

R And D

Product Development

Background

"Local news is an industry that has been declining for the past decade, both in the UK and around the world. Shrinking audiences, as readers head online for their news, has led advertisers to allocate their budgets elsewhere. This isn’t just a problem for the local news journalists who are losing their jobs; without local news, who will hold local authorities to account and shine a light on those critical local issues?" (bernardmarr)

Benefits

Revenue - Customer experience

Data

"open datasets from government, public services and local authorities"