The Associated Press, using automation technology from Automated Insights and data from STATS, announced today it will deliver automated previews for all NCAA Division I men’s basketball games.
While AP has typically provided previews for all NCAA Tournament games, this marks the first time the news cooperative will offer previews for over 5,000 regular-season games.
Automated stories previewing the matchups will begin appearing on the wire the week of Feb. 11.
“We’re pleased to deliver significantly more content of value to our customers,” said Barry Bedlan, AP’s director of sports products. “Given the large number of college games played each season, using automation as a tool to more thoroughly cover this sport makes sense.”
In January, AP and Automated Insights began automating some recaps of NCAA men’s basketball games involving unranked teams using the same technology. These games typically were not staffed with a reporter.
AP Sports editors worked closely with Automated Insights to develop the tools for the automated, data-driven recaps and previews, using STATS post-game data and Automated Insights’ natural language generation platform, Wordsmith. Natural language generation is the software process of creating clear, easy-to-understand stories from data.
“The continued expansion of The Associated Press’ adoption of natural language generation showcases the large-scale value of automated technology in journalism,” said Marc Zionts, CEO of Automated Insights. “It’s an honor to play a fundamental role in the advancement of the AP’s drive toward innovative, automated news generation for data-driven stories and see the way it’s enabled prized writers to spend more time writing critical, qualitative articles.”
AP’s sports report first tapped automation technology in 2012 and now provides most of its sports agate to subscribers through automation. AP uses automation from Automated Insights to produce recaps of all MLB-affiliated minor league baseball games as well as nearly 4,500 stories about U.S. corporate earnings each quarter.
The automation of data-driven stories frees up journalists to focus on enterprise reporting and reduces the amount of data-processing work. AP continues to explore ways to use automation to expand its content offerings and improve its news coverage.