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A new future for AP business news

AP to switch over to an automated system for some business news
AP to switch over to an automated system for some business news
Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images

AP blog reported on June 30 that the Associated Press will start assembling business news, specifically U.S. corporate earnings reports, through an automated system. These new automated reports are due to start in July.

At the moment, reporters at AP produce 300 stories per quarter. Soon, AP will be able to put out 4,400 reports per quarter. These 4,400 transcripts will only be covering U.S. business, but AP is looking to see if they can do the same for companies outside of the U.S.

The idea is to free up journalists from processing data to provide more editorial coverage on earnings reports and business coverage. Lou Ferrara, vice president and managing editor, said on the AP blog, “Our journalists will focus on reporting and writing stories about what the numbers mean and what gets said in earnings calls on the day of the release, identifying trends and finding exclusive stories we can publish at the time of the earnings reports.”

Business Insider states that this is not the first time AP has ventured into automation. They have used such systems to place sports statistics in stories for years, but this will be the first time complete stories are "written". Although, until all the issues have been ironed they will be looking at the reports before they're published to the AP wire.

The company that AP will be using is Automated Insights; the data will be sustained by Zacks Investment Research. Ferrara explains the process as, “Zacks maintains the data when the earnings reports are issued. Automated Insights has algorithms that ping that data and then in seconds output a story. The structure for the earnings reports stories was crafted by AP with Automated Insights. All conform to AP Style, the standard of journalistic style.”

Earlier this year, Automated Insights CEO Robbie Allen spoke with Poynter about what the company does saying,“We flipped the standard content creation model on its head. The standard way of creating content is, ‘I hope a million people read this.’ Our model is the inverse of that. We want to create a million pieces of content with one individual reading each copy.”

There will be no jobs cut with this revamp. Having been a part of the discussion on this transition, staff at AP are said to be responsive to this change.