You can only outsource so far

At that point, the alternative is to bring the function back in-house while not actually hiring anyone to perform it:

A year ago, the Washington Post introduced Heliograf, an in-house program that automatically generates short reports for their live blog. It was first used during the Rio Olympics to provide information such as the results of medal events for services like Alexa. At that time Sam Han, engineering director of data science, said, “The next challenge is to broaden the subjects covered, deepen the kind of analysis possible and identify potential stories for our newsroom.”

It looks like that day has arrived. Over the past year, the Post has published 850 stories from Heliograf, expanding its reach to include reporting on subject like congressional races and high-school football games.

Um, Mister Bezos, sir, can this thing be trained to write editorials? Asking for a friend in the news business.


  1. Holly H »

    19 September 2017 · 10:30 am

    Don’t give them any ideas!

  2. McG »

    19 September 2017 · 10:34 am

    The influence of political correctness should have simplified editorial-writing with easily macro-able “correct” opinions to take the place of thought, but entropy will not be mocked — hence “intersectionalism” and the ongoing riddle of which lives matter more.

  3. fillyjonk »

    19 September 2017 · 10:51 am

    Maybe all our news now is generated by an AI.

    That would explain the strangeness and incomprehensibility.

  4. McG »

    19 September 2017 · 2:34 pm

    You may be right about the “A” part at least, but the jury’s still out on the other letter.

  5. ETat »

    20 September 2017 · 6:35 am

    Who is to say the WP’s whole …oeuvre is not Heliograf-generated?

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