A summary of the past year

The project is moving forward and our team has been busy with their research. As the academic year is ending, we want to provide you with some examples of where our work has been presented during the past year.

Presentations during the past year

Last fall, we gave presentations at several conferences, including Verkkoviestijöiden päivät 21.–22.9.2017 in Vantaa and the IPTC seminar on news automation in Barcelona 8.11.2017. We also attended the conference Computation + Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago in October.

In September 2017, two peer-reviewed academic papers were presented on the technical aspects of automated news production. The first of these papers, Data-Driven News Generation for Automated Journalism was presented on September 4–7 in the 10th International Natural Language Generation conference (INLG) in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. INLG is the conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) Special Interest Group on Natural Language Generation (SIGGEN). The second paper, Finding and Expressing News from Structured Data was presented September 20–21 at the 21st International Academic Mindtrek Conference in Tampere, Finland.

The election news generation system was also presented to an audience of Nordic news media industry personnel at the 5th NxtMedia Conference in Trondheim, Norway on November 15th. It was further demonstrated to domestic press as well as industry and academic personnel on the AI Day organized jointly by University of Helsinki and Aalto University.

On 28 February 2018, Carl-Gustav Lindén gave a lecture on news automation to around 60 students and staff at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, India. The active discussion afterwards revealed that news automation is known as a concept in India, but there are no applications used at the moment. There was also the usual discussion about journalists losing jobs because of automation. Carl-Gustav Lindén also moderated a panel at the Nordic Data Journalism Conference NODA2018 about news automation. The four participants came from Norway, Sweden and Finland  and the common conclusion was that that news automation is only in the beginning of the development.

Carl-Gustav Lindén presented the paper Creating value in the age of algorithms – a Finnish perspective on newsroom strategies at the World Media Economics and Management Conference 2018 (WMEMC2018) in Cape Town, South Africa in May 2018. The paper, with Stefanie Sirén-Heikel as the main author, was one of few dealing with algorithms at the conference, which attracted around 250 researchers from around the world.

What’s going on right now?

In 2018, we have been investigating methods for improving data analysis and the language generation process. The results of these methods will be demonstrated in Valtteri 2.0.  Valtteri 2.0 will exhibit a generation system for news on crime statistics. This system will exhibit an improved quality of language, improved analytical capabilities and the generation of more complex news articles from significantly richer data. This application domain also further highlights the computational power of our system as contrasted to human journalists. Researchers Asta Bäck and Magnus Melin have been occupied with testing Valtteri 2.0. Last submission day was 13th of May and an analysis of the results is on-going.

Melin held a presentation about Valtteri at VTT’s internal Friday madness and has presented his work at a VTT business area meeting, where we gained the insight that the topic has good potential, and comparatively few players on the market.







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