In January 2015, Assistant Business Editor Philana Patterson explained automation’s numerous benefits.
“There has been a great deal of interest about how automation works from both members and readers, and overall the reaction has been incredibly positive. AP members are getting more stories about companies in their markets than ever before.”
“Internally, the reaction has been positive from staff, largely because automation has freed up valuable reporting time and reduced the amount of data-processing type work they had been doing.”
“Once you set up automation, and go through a rigorous testing process, you reduce the prospect of errors. In fact, we have far fewer errors than we did when we were writing earnings reports manually.”
“We estimate the automation of earnings reports has freed up about 20 percent of the time that we had spread throughout the staff in producing earnings reports each quarter.”
“This quarter, we are testing the automation of earnings from Canadian and European companies. We expect to add further enhancements and more companies in future quarters. My colleagues in the sports department are also exploring small-audience sports for automation in order to free staff to report news that fans and consumers do not get on the field or a broadcast.”
Automation hasn’t displaced any reporters, but AP says it has freed up the equivalent of 3 full-time employees across the organization. As The Verge noted, “computers are not taking journalists’ jobs — not yet, at any rate. Instead, they’re freeing up writers to think more critically about the bigger picture.”