One of the basics of business journalism is the quarterly earnings story. Every business journalist can write one of these. It’s formulaic. You get accustomed to using certain words when the company’s stock price increased, and different words when it increased drastically, and so on.
When I was a student at Medill, I covered Kellogg for Medill News Service and wrote this quarterly earnings story in winter 2010.
I later took a class called Journalism and Technology. We created data visualizations related to the census. But, an earlier term of that class did a project that later became a company called Narrative Science. A few of my classmates now work there.
They started with sports stories and created a system where you could plug in the game stats from a sporting event and it would create a story. Based on writers digging through the formulaic way they write and applying it to a software system. Now, they’ve expanded to business stories, and yes – Narrative Science gets a byline.
How does my quarterly earnings story compare to this one, penned by the machine (sort of)?