Artificial Intelligence: The Boston Globe To Automate Content and Data With New Startup

The Boston Globe and Newlab tie-up to create Applied XLabs.

AppliedXLabs, the joint venture between The Boston Globe and Newlab, will create AI tools that will drive data-driven journalism. These tools will automatically pull data from sources that are currently “data deserts” and generate journalistic insights. (TechCrunch)

Data deserts

Francesco Marconi, previously R&D chief at The Wall Street Journal and head of AI strategy at the Associated Press, will head AppliedXLabs. Examples of data that is currently available in public databases, but obscure to journalists are company filings and research by academia on climate change.

“Only a handful of organizations have the internal resources to create these types of tools, these types of analyses,” Marconi told TechCrunch.

Therefore, data-driven journalism remains an outlier.


Launched in 2016, Brooklyn-based Newlab is a platform for scaling frontier technologies and supports over 150 startups.

Marconi is designated SVP of AI & Data at Newlab and founder of Applied XLabs. “We have a responsibility to advance machine learning and natural language processing tools for the benefit of society,” he said in a statement.

AI in media

The brief for AppliedXLabs is to “develop technologies that enable the information industry to yield insights from large datasets, create quality content at scale, embrace data-driven editorial and product strategies, and drive audience engagement by addressing the specific interests of individual readers.”

Therefore, it looks like The Boston Globe is serious about leveraging AI for data and content.

However, AI has already made an entry into many of the media’s biggest names.

Bloomberg’s automated technology system – Cyborg – assists reporters on quarterly earnings reports of thousands of companies. Other such “robot reporters” are Bertie, the Forbes’ Content Management System, and Heliograf at The Washington Post.

Reuters, the Associated Press, and The Guardian also use AI for various jobs in their newsrooms.

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