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Editorial automation set to advance

Automatically-generated financial news and data is set to increase, freeing up journalists to develop exclusives or write analyses.

A Thomson Reuters survey has found that financial firms using advanced algorithmic trading techniques expect IT-driven news analysis tools to substantially shorten the time it takes them to act on new information.

Ventanta Research spoke to 113 specialist financial professionals and found that two-thirds expect increased automation in the analysis of news.

Prior to the April take-over, both Thomson and Reuters were working on products which deliver data and other news to financial services customers in a format that can be read and acted on automatically by computers. Much of that content is also created automatically.

“It’s still the same news - we’re not really providing a different piece of news, we’re just providing it in a different format,” said James Chenery, Thomson Reuters’ business development manager for quantitative and event-driven trading products.

“We’re providing particular pieces of data, which used to be very much textual in their delivery, in a much more structured message whether it’s XML or Reuters’ real time for the market feed.”

“Earnings releases are primarily numerical in nature, but when they are covered by text - a sentence - then it becomes more difficult for a machine to understand and comprehend that information,” Chenery said.

Reuters has begun adding machine-interpretable semantic data to otherwise conventional, human-readable news stories.

Thomson Reuters expects machine-readable news to become an increasingly important part of the company’s business and has said that the automated extraction and delivery of data used by these tools will free journalists to do other, less mechanic work.

“By providing that kind of automation and technology, it allows the journalists to spend more time developing exclusives or writing up more information,” Chenery said.

“We don’t want a relatively highly paid journalist putting a textual number into some sort of system to send it out when we can do that automatically and probably faster and would rather have that journalist writing an analysis piece or something like that.” ■

Press Gazette