After years of their growing partnership with The Associated Press (AP), Automated Insights is taking it a step further. The Associated Press is now delivering automated previews for all NCAA Division I men’s basketball games using our natural language generation platform, Wordsmith.
Using data from STATS, The AP sports editors worked with Automated Insights to develop the architecture required to generate the automated previews. For the initial narrative development within Wordsmith, the AP collaborates closely with us to craft in-depth versions with different narratives depending on conditional logic. Once Wordsmith connects with the data, conditional logic is utilized, and the story structure is generated using the AP’s tone and style.
While the AP has typically provided previews for all NCAA Tournament games, this marks the first time they will offer previews for over 5,000 regular-season games. Their continued expansion and adoption of NLG showcases the large-scale value of automated technology in data-driven journalism.
The Associated Press also uses Wordsmith’s NLG to produce recaps of all MLB-affiliated minor league baseball games, as well as nearly 4,500 stories about U.S. corporate earnings each quarter, amounting to a nearly 15x increase over manual efforts.
As the use of automation becomes a more commonly utilized piece of the journalistic toolbox, it’s important to note it’s not a threat to human employees. Instead, it enables reporters and journalists to enhance creativity, curiosity, storytelling, and critical thinking. It empowers them to be able to spend their energy on qualitative, dynamic stories. We continue to lead automated storytelling in journalism to empower writers to spend more time pursuing substantive storytelling, focusing on the uniquely human aspects of journalism, and reducing the amount of data-processing work.
“The continued expansion of The Associated Press’ adoption of natural language generation showcases the large-scale value of automated technology in journalism,” said our CEO, Marc Zionts. “It’s an honor to play a fundamental role in the advancement of the AP’s drive toward innovative, automated news generation for data-driven stories and see the way it’s enabled prized writers to spend more time writing critical, qualitative articles.”
With a vast number of teams within college basketball, the content demand is huge and, yet, has a short shelf life. Few teams have multiple beat writers if any at all. For teams that previously weren’t getting any coverage, automated content with Wordsmith’s NLG extends the AP’s ability to deliver pertinent content to each respective team’s fanbase. Regardless of the size of a school, team, or town, it’s always exciting to see your favorite team in the news, especially for the fans who follow closely. Through augmentation and automation, it’s now possible.
“We’re pleased to deliver significantly more content of value to our customers,” said Barry Bedlan, AP’s director of sports products. “Given a large number of college games played each season, using automation as a tool to more thoroughly cover this sport makes sense.”
Technology is advancing and industries are adapting. Because of automation, the Associated Press has more reach in NCAA men’s basketball and viewers have quicker access to information. The Associated Press continues to explore ways to use automation to expand its content offerings and improve its news coverage.