Tag Archives: writing

Narrative Science, robot journalists, customized news, and the danger to civil discourse. – Slate Magazine

Narrative Science, robot journalists, customized news, and the danger to civil discourse. – Slate Magazine.

This frightening piece by Slate talks about the new technology of computer generated journalistic content. Most of these writing “robots” are creating simple articles for sports, finance, and real estate but they may expand to cover other formulaic news pieces. Who’s to say the next city council meeting or election won’t be covered by a robot? It would be easy enough with the advancement of Google technology, translators, statistics, and software that’s getting increasingly better at writing readable stories.

It’s eery to see robots taking journalism jobs at the same time the industry is struggling. But this Orwellian technology has become a reality. The truth is we will soon be competing against this technology for our livelihoods. Who will report the next Watergate better-humans or robots?

It was only a matter of time....

This technology is hailed for being very objective and factual (more than a human could be?). But will this technology be capable of investigative reporting in the future? The question now is not when this will happen (it has begun) but how far this will reach and how many publications will employ these writing robots. Are independent bloggers above this kind of technology? In ten years we might not even have to ask this, it might already be too late and Glenn Greewald will be replaced with Glenn Greenbot.

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The New Press Pass

Perhaps it’s the newest tool for journalists and a sign of times to come. I heard about Press Pass on a great tumblr I recently discovered called The Future Journalism Project.  I’m finding out every day more and more that tumblr is actually a great tool for news, photojournalism, and sharing information. Besides the personal, art, photography, cute animals, music, and fashion blogs I follow- I’m now starting to follow more news sources.[[ It might surprise people to hear that I first read about President Mubarak resigning and other major world events through tumblr.]] No site will ever compete with the passion and timeliness that tumblr uses have when it comes to world news, media, and pop culture. Twitter has these same users but doesn’t provide the proper space to elaborate on stories as much. The FJP tumblr recently posted:

From The Next Web:

Press Pass, a ’live directory’ of journalists from major publications, is a brand new Dubai-based site that comes to us courtesy of co-founders David Haddad, a product manager and software engineer, and Valencio Cardoso, an interactive designer.

The site lists journalists by region, beat or by publication, making it incredibly easy to find the journalist who can cover your story. Not only can you find out which journalists work at major publications and sites, you can connect with them through Twitter. You can also find out what they’re personally interested in, as Press Pass highlights the stories that they’re sharing through their Twitter feed.

The site analyzes each journalist’s tweets, creating a profile based on that content – including what they’re reading, topics they’re interested in and who they’re talking to. Each journalist is ranked based on the number of followers they have and their number of tweets.

I can’t wait to see what this leads to for independent internet journalism. Maybe we’ll even be using it soon!
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