FL#142: Enlisting product managers and automating more complex stories

This week we explore the role of product managers within news organizations, and we find out how more complex stories might be written by computers.

PART 1: Product managers for news

Borrowing from the tech and business worlds, several large news organizations have integrated the role of product manager into their workflows. The result can bring new thinking about how to serve an intended audience. We find out how product managers are shaping things at Vox Media and The Washington Post.
Reporting by Katy Mersmann.

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PART 2: The next step in automated stories

One day computer systems might be able to automatically generate text articles not only about numerical data but also about politics and breaking news. We take a look at how that might happen.
Reporting by Berkeley Lovelace.

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For more information:

As Poynter reports, Automated Insights opened its Wordsmith platform for self-service use in October 2015. That means companies can use the system to create their own story automations rather than having Automated Insights do the custom implementation.

The co-founder of Chicago-based Narrative Science told the Guardian that he thinks a computer-written story could win a Pulitzer prize within the next five years. The story also says he predicts “90% of journalism will will written by computer by 2030.”

RJI Fellow David Caswell is developing a platform that would enable structured story information to be automatically reconfigured into things like bulleted lists, timelines, or narrative text. You’ll find more information here about his project.

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