GLOSSARY: Common terms in journalism + AI


by Andrew Cochran
April 16, 2019
updated October 2019

AUGMENTED NEWSROOM – When journalistic work is assisted by intelligent machines as a matter of routine.

AUTOMATED JOURNALISM – When news stories are prepared by machines acting by predetermined parameters. Example uses are (a) doing repetitive editorial tasks, such converting corporate earnings or sports scores into stories, (b) flagging breaking news, often by finding anomalies in feeds or data sources, or (c) identifying variances from previous statements or results. See How is AI used in journalism?

AUTOSCRIBE – A computer system that generates stories from data.

CHATBOT – An algorithm that simulates one end of a conversation or exchange. If the material is about news, the algorithm might be called a newsbot.

DEEPFAKE – Synthetic video, audio, or text generated by an AI system and intended to deceive users. For example, comments by a politician that were never said.

HYBRID WORKFLOWS – When humans and automated systems are jointly contributing to an outcome. For example, algorithms gathering editorial materials that then are selected by human judgment. See augmented newsroom above.

NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING (NLP) – When a computer bases its operations on everyday words or speech. For example:

  • smart speakers that ‘listen’ to a request and then ‘speak’ a reply
  • transcription services that rapidly convert speech into text
  • translation services that rapidly adapt text or speech from one language to another

Sub-fields are Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and Natural Language Generation (NLG). See How is AI used in journalism?

STRUCTURED DATA – When facts are formatted to be processed by algorithms. For example:

  • data classified by its type, such as date, headline, summary, language, etc., together often called a database
  • data labelled by its content, such as dog, cat, car, polyp, eye, sneeze, laugh, etc. together often called a training set

In contrast, unstructured data is has no apparent organization, such as words in a narrative.

SEE RELATED STORIES

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