Algorithms are a Reporter’s New Best Friend

News automation and the case for augmented journalism

Authored by: Carl-Gustav Linden

The Routledge Handbook of Developments in Digital Journalism Studies

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138283053
eBook ISBN: 9781315270449
Adobe ISBN:


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Automated routine news is gradually complementing manually produced journalistic texts, creating emotional stress in many newsrooms. This chapter provides an alternative consideration to the conventional view that automation amounts to an existential threat to the work of journalists. Focusing on opportunities, it discusses how journalists and editors could embrace new media technology built on algorithms in ways that create value and meaning. Theoretically the study is inspired by a social constructionist perspective, arguing that technical, economic, and social factors determine the pace and extent of automation. This chapter turns the usual discussion about job losses on its head with a claim that “algorithms are a journalist’s new best friend”. The real risk is not too much automation but that journalists and the news media falls behind other industries in developing new cognitive technologies because of, for instance, lack of skills, strategy, and scarce financial resources.

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