Google set sights on bot-generated Local news stories

In partnership with Urbs Media, an automation software startup specializing in open datasets, Google is funding a software project dubbed RADAR, which stands for Reporters And Data And Robots, with the aim to automate local reporting with large public databases from local agencies.

While the Press Association, a large British news agency, received the funding to help automate the writing of 30,000 local stories per month.

The Press Association and Urbs Media will work on local stories from the datasets using Natural Language Generation, which converts information gleaned from the data into words, and also help develop capabilities to auto-generate graphics and video to add to text-based stories, as well as related pictures.

The project, RADAR intends to cover issues of local significance, investigating into government agencies' datasets to discover stories that matter.

The grant also includes funds allocated to hire some journalists to identify datasets, as well as curate and edit the news articles generated from RADAR. As the news appropriateness requires deep understanding of social, political and local contexts, which humans are better suited to determine.

RADAR is scheduled to launch in early 2018, and the Press Associations' distribution platforms will be enhanced to make sure that all local outlets can find and use the large volume of localized news stories.
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