In late 2015, Automated Insights unveiled a new version of its Wordsmith platform, designed to make it easy for any professional to upload their own data and automatically generate their own narratives. The AP was one of the first companies to take a look.
In a working session with Ai, AP staff members, including the automation editor, explored how the new Wordsmith platform could generate stories using federal unemployment data. While AP reports on monthly unemployment rates for many states, it isn’t able to provide that coverage for all states. AP is testing out Wordsmith to see how it may automatically generate data-rich reports for all states each month.
Barry Bedlan, an AP Deputy Director and one of the organization’s proponents of automation, was impressed by Wordsmith’s ability to account for possible data scenarios.
“Wordsmith allows you to make the if/then decisions that a reporter would make when writing a story,” he said. “By mapping out the editorial decisions in advance, it can be used to quickly cover most scenarios and then make any changes as needed. Ultimately, I can see how Wordsmith can be used for expanded coverage at an unprecedented speed and scale.”
The overall goal: for reporters to focus less on numbers and more on nuance, and for the AP to deliver more value to the news organizations that rely on them every day.