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How robots helped create The Guardian's long-form newspaper

How robots helped create The Guardian's long-form newspaper

Margaret Looney | December 04, 2013

Newsrooms have used robots to verify social media, comb through data and many other vital journalistic tasks. And now robots are taking over the printing press as well.

The Guardian and The Newspaper Club, a company specializing in do-it-yourself print publications, teamed up to create a newspaper, and algorithms are doing most of the leg work.

The Long Good Read is a free, 24-page curation of The Guardian's best long-form pieces from the past seven days, distributed weekly in The Guardian's experimental coffee shop in London.

The Guardian uses an algorithm to select stories over a certain word count - skimming through the outlet's 3,100 articles, videos and podcasts published in a week - and an editor combs through the algorithm's selections to be featured in the print edition.

The Newspaper Club then uses a semi-automated layout process with the ARTHR tool. An editor feeds in links, text or images and then the tool organizes them on a page.

Long-form journalism has faced an interesting adjustment to the Internet's lean toward short, quippy blog posts and to-the-point news, but there's something inherent about this type of article that complements the print medium.

“It’s part of a noble heritage: people wanting something to read when they’re drinking their coffee or tea," said Jemima Kiss, head of technology for The Guardian, in this Nieman Lab piece.

An efficient workflow like this lets newsrooms experiment with blending old and new media in a low-cost way, but robots won't be taking away any online journalism jobs just yet.

"We’re straddling two worlds: the nostalgia for print and those beautiful machines, the rudiments of it all and the slightly more weird media future that is going on,” said Tom Taylor, head of engineering for The Newspaper Club, in the Nieman Lab post. “It’s not as simple as ‘The Internet will replace print.’ The future is way more complicated than that.”

Via Nieman Journalism Lab.

IJNet Editorial Assistant Margaret Looney writes about the latest media trends, reporting tools and journalism resources.

@margylooney

Image CC-licensed on Flickr via Newspaper Club.

Comments

Robots in this field are a

Robots in this field are a must. The data protection has become a serious issue to deal with. We need robot to secure our data.

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