AP will use robots to write some business stories
AP will announce Monday that it plans to use automation technology from a company called Automated Insights to produce stories about earnings reports. The software means that "instead of providing 300 stories manually, we can provide up to 4,400 automatically for companies throughout the United States each quarter," AP Managing Editor Lou Ferrara writes in a Q&A.
That does not mean job cuts or less coverage, Ferrara writes: "If anything, we are doubling down on the journalism we will do around earnings reports and business coverage." Instead, he writes, "our journalists will focus on reporting and writing stories about what the numbers mean and what gets said in earnings calls on the day of the release, identifying trends and finding exclusive stories we can publish at the time of the earnings reports."
The data for the stories will come from Zacks Investment Research. AP has used automation to produce a "good chunk" of its sports agate for years, Ferrara writes. In May, AP said it had agreed to sell its stake in STATS LLC, which produces sports data. AP contributed to a recent financing round for Automated Insights.
"We flipped the standard content creation model on its head,” Automated Insights CEO Robbie Allen told Poynter's Sam Kirkland earlier this year. “The standard way of creating content is, ‘I hope a million people read this.’ Our model is the inverse of that. We want to create a million pieces of content with one individual reading each copy.”
The stories will begin in July. They'll be labeled "as being produced automatically with material from Zacks," Ferrara writes.