Tag Archives: robot journalism

Fast fashion

4 Feb

Baftas style is such big news that Mail Online is not just doing one story about the red carpet, but one story per dress. This should test the fashion desk’s powers of creativity and variation to the utmost.

Oh:

Neil Gaiman recently speculated that a particularly strange Mail article about him might have been written by a bot, or perhaps an elk. I’m not sure bots or elks are quite at that level yet, but there’s no doubt that these Bafta articles could have been created by importing data from a spreadsheet. All you need is the reporter filling in Excel fields with details of name, gender, age, claim to fame, and description of outfit, have the system generate a Daily Mail verb-phrase*, and the job is done.

{#GENDER} is {#CLAIM TO FAME} <break> And {#NAME} {#DAILY MAIL VERB PHRASE} in {#DESCRIPTION OF OUTFIT} at the Baftas.

The “She … And” transition, which was also used in the article about Gaiman, is often crashingly discontinuous, but it’s quick and equally inconsequential in all cases, which gives an air of consistency to the coverage. And if recycling your evening wear is the latest thing, why not recycle your ledes?

 

* “Left little to the imagination”, “put on a busty display”, “poured herself into”, “made the most of her assets”, “marvelled” (in its transitive form), etc