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Regional publisher launches robot-powered personalised news service

A new robot-powered personalised news service involving regional titles has been launched by their publisher.

Reach plc has set up online platform My News Assistant, which uses artificial intelligence to create news feeds tailored to individual readers’ interests.

Users select topics of interest to them, including ‘local news’, with the service compiling a list of stories from Reach titles based on the results.

Results are then curated by the technology based on the most closely-related content written by the publisher’s regional and national journalists.

My News Assistant

The project uses IBM Mantis technology, which the publisher created and has previously used to prevent safe editorial content from being “blacklisted” online.

It is currently described by Reach as being in “beta” testing phase.

The fresh use of AI comes after Reach earlier this year began testing the ability of robots to write local news stories.

An announcement on the My News Assistant site states: “Tired of navigating multiple news websites trying to filter out news and topics that’s relevant to you? Well, your search is over,

“My News Assistant offers thousands of articles published daily, from well-known trusted brands across the UK.

“So whether you are interested in Manchester United transfer news, the latest antics of the Kardashians, or advances in neuroscience – or even all three – we’ve got you covered.”

Reach praised the power of its Mantis technology in the company’s annual report for 2022.

The report said: “Our fully owned ad tech software, Mantis, is enabling us to capture detailed contextual and behavioural data on around three-quarters of our UK audience, the majority of whom aren’t registered.

“We know whether they enjoy reading about the Royal Family, UK beach holidays or women’s fashion.

“And Mantis can identify the sentiment and emotion attached to the content they read.

“This is improving our ability to sell digital advertising directly, with data supporting an increasing number of campaign segments and more effective advertising for brands.