Could newsroom automation be the key to increasing your company’s bottom line? During a discussion panel at the recent news: rewired conference, it was revealed that not only can an automated newsroom increase staff efficiency and productivity, it can also cut costs.

Organizations such as BBC are already putting this into practice. The Alto project by BBC News Labs is a new innovation that makes it easy for journalists to do voice-overs for their video news packages; in the past, it was a highly complicated team effort. The project was tested in Japan and Russia with positive results, and BBC technology producer Susanne Weber thinks it will help increase job efficiency for small-bureau journalists.

Why newsroom automation is a good thing for digital publishers

While many fear automation in any workplace scenario would lead to downsizing, the reality is quite the opposite. Rather than replacing jobs, automation is one way to help employees do their jobs more effectively. This, in turn, leads to happier employees. And as any experienced leader would probably tell you, happy employees are productive employees.

Of course, what’s a discussion about automation without asking the question: could a robot take a journalist’s job? The answer across the board is “no.” While automation could make a journalist’s job easier, there’s no way at this point that a machine could replicate the authentic voice of an experienced writer; nor could it understand causality. Digital publishers have to find the balance between automated efficiency and human-driven creativity to benefit best from both.

Advantages of an automated newsroom

According to Reg Chua, executive editor at Reuters, cost-effectiveness is the number one reason publishers are bringing automation into their newsrooms. He explained that in the future, automation will move in the direction of news on demand, insight, and personalization.

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Staffing costs are a large portion of overhead for many publishers; automation can help reduce staffing costs without job loss by making employee tasks easier and faster to complete. It also lets digital publishers compete in fast-moving markets better.

For the most part, automation is a benefit for the newsroom because it can make data sourcing faster and more efficient while reducing errors — and high-profile media companies such as the BBC are taking notice.

What do you think about newsroom automation? Is it a trend to fear or embrace?

Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at vahe@stateofdigitalpublishing.com.

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