What’s Churnalism and Why Is It Making Journalists Very Sad?
It’s hard out here for a journalist. In case you haven’t read the news lately, media jobs are being cut left and right and, increasingly, journalists are being judged by their articles’ clickability and share rate (by the way, guys: please share this). While algorithms can be great for helping you find new music or rearrange your Instagram feed, they can now also automate jobs — journalism jobs.
The Associated Press (AP), long the golden standard and holy grail of many reporters, just stuck a dagger in the hearts of many journalists. They are publishing stories written by algorithms. Although currently the automatically-generated stories are only baseball coverage and did not cut any jobs or replace any journalistic coverage in order to send out these stories, you have to wonder, “Is it only a matter of time?”
Currently, the new stories are expanded coverage of games the AP probably wouldn’t have covered anyways. The stories are written with the cooperation of a company called Automated Insights. The company uses artificial intelligence to turn data into stories, many of which have already appeared on the AP newswire. The stories are indeed readable — you can check one out here — and are a good substitute for news if all you’re in it for is the cold, hard facts. But reporters around the world are reacting with apprehension and fear to “churnalism.”
Ask not for whom the bells tolls, journalists, read about it in an automated obituary by the Associated Press. (Kidding! We’re just bitter. Maybe.)
What do you think of “churnalism”? Let us know @BritandCo!
(h/t VentureBeat, photo via Getty)