PA’s localised data journalism service Radar secures first paid customers

PA’s Reporters and Data and Robots localized reporting secures first paid customers

The Press Association (PA), early to the benefits of having AI and journalists working in tandem, has has attracted its first customers to its Radar (Reporters and Data and Robots) offering.

Radar is the national news agency’s product which sees a team of six journalists create localised news stories from freely available public data sets – with help from automation technology. As the pictures illustrate above, it has created stories around knife crime and speeding drivers.

The service, which received launch funding in 2017 from Google’s Digital News Initiative (DNI) Innovation Fund, now boasts regional newspaper publishers Archant, Baylis Media, JPI Media, Iliffe Media and MNA Media as its first customers, as well as are independent community news services, Caerphilly Observer and Newscraft, and Bauer Media-owned UKRD Group.

Including trialists, it said 329 print, digital and broadcasting outlets are now using content created by Radar.

The team is tasked with creating story templates around universal issues based on open data sets held by government departments and agencies, health services, police forces and other public bodies.

Gary Rogers, editor-in-chief of Radar, said: “Radar has evolved from a Google-backed experiment in data journalism to a subscription-based business providing an essential service to local and regional media in the UK. Our model makes the service equally accessible to small hyperlocals and larger operations with many titles to cover.

“Our pilot testing gave us valuable insights into how Radar content can be integrated into publishers’ workflows. We remain in conversation with all those partners to see where we can make Radar a permanent part of their offering, and for current subscribers, to create more features that add value to the service in our next phase of development.”

Pete Clifton, editor-in-chief of PA, added: “It is heartening to see Radar’s ground-breaking approach to combining human journalism with automation taking root in the UK media landscape. Since the pilot got underway at the end of 2017, we have grown an editorial team of six and seen news outlets use Radar content in a variety of ways.

“I look forward to seeing Radar continue to develop as a business for the media, and ultimately beyond the media sector too.”

Since launching a full beta in June 2018, the service has filed more than 100,000 articles.

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