Robot journalism in practice! A situation report.

Football – a fast sport. Just like the coverage of such games. A regional football-portal uses robot journalism and is outrunning the competition. Basis of these game reports is the rtr textengine by Retresco. This engine generates perfectly written texts, in any number, within minutes, just by using the existing data of the particular game. 

The editorial staff is unburdened of routine work and invests the newly gained time to improve the quality of their content. Since using automated generated texts, coverage and reader loyalty have increased significantly.

Since 2015, Retresco and Sportplatz Media successful develop and market the use of rtr textengine for the automated text generation of sport reports. National and regional publishers profit from this innovation, just like local football-portals – so everyone with football enthusiastic readers and with the wish for new and better content.

One example are FussiFreunde. This portal stands for the love of regional amateur football in Hamburg. Operator and service provider is Sportplatz Media together with Radio Hamburg.

Since autumn 2015, FussiFreunde get a growing part of their game reports generated from the rtr textengine. Only minutes after the game, the automated written game reports can be used in their content management system by the editors. Here the staff can either directly publish them or customize them with background information, multimedia and opinions. The enormously high quality of these texts make the eye of a journalist almost dispensable.

While having the same number on employees, with automated generated texts the staff of FussiFreunde produces multiple content and is gaining much more speed. With the help of rtr textengine, every weekend FussiFreunde now publishes round about 240 fully automated pre- and post-game reports instead of 40, before using our software. In addition, the time needed to curate extensive game reports including further background information, has been reduced by 30 percent, because of data driven texts generated by the rtr textengine.

This textengine by Retresco can translate all structured data into written language. Still these texts are, as Sportplatz Media CEO Marcel Hager states, “no replacement, but an important tool to the editorial staff. The journalists do not go away – on the contrary: More content and a higher speed lead to an increase in traffic and therefore secure us our business through higher advertising revenues.”
Dirk Becker, chief editor of FussiFreunde describes the enormous power of the combination between journalists and “robot journalists”. “The rtr textengine gives us the opportunity for an area-wide news coverage. Every game, no matter what league, can now be covered. Furthermore through the automated texts, we have the capacity to improve even more our research as well as our background coverage. The textengine automates routine-work and enhances the daily work of journalists with creative, challenging activities.
This does not only help the staff but also the importance of FussiFreunde. “Since we use the rtr textengine, our page visits and views increased by one-third, also the amount of unique users increased in about the same size”, states Marcel Hager and continues: “We do not see a difference in clicks of game reports whether it is written by a real human person or the textengine.” In addition, supporters from the teams in lower leagues are happy about the new intensive coverage of their favorite team.
The example FussiFreunde clearly shows and proves for sport-journalism that humans and robots can reach a new stage of editorial quality.