Some of Reach’s biggest regional newsrooms will start to use an artificial intelligence newsgathering platform to act as a “third eye” for finding breaking news.

Krzana is powered by AI to monitor 60,000 online sources from social media to local news sites and blogs in a news feed which can be personalised by geographic area.

Reach will initially use the platform across seven of its regional newsrooms, including in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge and Newcastle, to identify “pre-trending” news in their areas.

Karyn Fleeting, head of audience engagement at Reach regionals, said: “Krzana is a third eye in our regional newsrooms.

“This AI tool is so fast and clever, it alerts our journalists to breaking news the moment something happens.”

Krzana chief executive Steve Godman said the aim of the platform since its launch three years ago is to “help journalists discover stories in real time before they become news”.

He told Press Gazette: “The challenges faced by journalists are that you have to find stories to write about and you end up spending a lot of time inserting lists on Tweetdeck.

“We scale journalism and we are not trying to reduce the number of journalists in the market. We are trying to make the world of journalism a better place by providing them tools to get better stories.”

Godman said “local newsrooms are our sweet spots”, adding: “We break news in real time. We are not replacing journalists, we are giving them a tool to compete and write better stories and respond more quickly.”

The platform is currently being trialled by other media companies and a “number of publishers” are also in talks about trying it, Godman said.

“We also work with a number of agencies such as Newsflare and SWNS. We are also in a paid-for pilot with the BBC, which is currently going well.”

Godman added: “We believe our technology can help publishers become more effective, productive and play a role in safeguarding the future of local journalism.”

Earlier this year Krzana was used during the Verificado 2018 initiative in Mexico by more than 90 newsrooms to source and debuke fake news and attemps to share false information aimed at voters.

Late last year, Google’s Digital News Initiative innovation fund gave millions to News UK to help them create an AI “digital butler” to “individualise the way content is distributed” to readers of the Times and Sunday Times.

In May, Google News began using AI to merge its news products and “make it easier to keep up” with the content and wide range of journalism now being produced.

And in June Press Association set up a three-month open trial of its automated news service so any regional title in the UK could sign up to Radar to receive localised data-driven stories.



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