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AP's college sports coverage to expand through the use of 'robot journalists'

By Shawn Knight
Mar 5, 2015
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    Human reporters are a dying breed, or at least that’s the case at one of the nation’s top news agencies. After successfully deploying an army of “robot journalists” last year to cover quarterly financial reports, the AP is expanding its automated news reporting to encompass college athletics.

    As a result, the publication will soon produce stories about Division I baseball, Division I women’s basketball, Division II and III football and Division II and III men’s basketball. Text for each story will be generated automatically using game statistics provided by the NCAA.

    Coverage of college sports is big business but due to budget constraints, publications typically only have the manpower to write stories on the top collegiate sports and teams.

    The AP’s automated news reporting is powered by language generation platform Automated Insights. The company’s services are used by several major companies including Allstate, Comcast and Yahoo.

    Robotic automation typically leads to human job loss, but the AP says that’s not the case in this situation. Its digital journalists are filling in gaps in coverage instead of replacing the human writers that tackle headlining topics. The publication already uses Automated Insights for much of the fine print associated with charts and statistics, it said.

    The AP plans to slowly expand its automated coverage of the aforementioned sports starting this spring and continuing over the next 20 months. 

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