The advent of new technologies has always spurred questions about changes in journalism—its content, its means of production, and its consumption. A quite recent development in the realm of digital journalism is software-generated content, i.e. automatically produced content. This paper seeks to investigate how readers perceive software-generated content in relation to similar content written by a journalist. The study utilizes an experimental methodology where respondents were subjected to different news articles that were written either by a journalist or were software-generated. The respondents were then asked to answer questions about how they perceived the article—its overall quality, credibility, objectivity, etc. The paper presents the results from an initial small-scale study with findings suggesting that while the software-generated content is perceived as descriptive and boring, it is also considered to be objective although not necessarily discernible from content written by journalists. The paper discusses the results of the study and its implication for journalism practice.
Taylor & Francis, 2014.