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Publisher gets £48k grant to develop AI-generated content

A small independent publisher has been awarded more than £48,000 of public money to build an editorial system which will enable it to produce AI-generated content.

Barrnon Media, set up in February 2000, owns the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, The Keswick Reminder and online platform Cumbria Crack.

The company has now been awarded an Innovating for Success grant of £48,250 from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP), which is responsible for allocating funding from the government’s Local Growth Fund on its patch.

The grant will meet 50pc of the costs of building automated system which reformulates certain types of content for editorial use.

Nicole Regan from Barrnon Media

The system, called TED (Transforming Editorial), takes the raw material for stories and produces content which is then monitored by journalists.

Barrnon Media digital editor Nicole Regan, pictured above, said she believes the company is among the first in the industry to develop such a system.

She said: “The Herald and Reminder have been an important part of their communities for over 160 years. The print editions of our papers are loved and trusted by our readers, and we want to carry on delivering quality journalism for at least another 160 years.

“That’s why we have invested in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The CLEP grant has helped us to develop a system, which frees up our journalists to continue doing what they do best.

“AI is another part of their toolkit to help them with the parts of their job which are time-consuming and formulaic. By freeing up journalist time, we are securing the quality and future of our long-standing titles.

“Using artificial intelligence, TED performs time-consuming tasks while experienced journalists monitor the output.”

Jo Lappin, chief executive of the Cumbria LEP, added: “It is really pleasing to see businesses like Barrnon Media using grant funding from the Innovating for Success programme, to safeguard the future of two important local newspapers.

“It is great to see Barrnon Media leading the way in using AI technology to produce local papers.

“We launched Innovating for Success to encourage small and medium sized businesses across Cumbria to invest in either innovating or decarbonising their business.

“It is clear that all of the businesses, including Barrnon Media, have used this grant programme to move their business to the next level.”