Pros and Cons of automated journalism with Frederik Fischer

Frederik Fischer is Chief Editor of, an expert-driven aggregation platform,  and also works at the media innovation think tank Vocer as co-publisher. In addition to teaching Digital Journalism at the Hamburg Media School, he has also hosted and spoken at several industry events.  Before becoming Chief Editor, Fisher was Head of Audience Engagement at Krautreporter, the biggest crowd funded German news room. In 2012 Frederik founded Tame, a context search engine used by newsrooms globally.

Fischer was joined by Stephan Weichert – from Macromedia University – to lead a panel titled “Robot: tools, conditions and challenges of automated journalism” at the International Festival of Journalism. Weichert opened the discussion by sharing his research findings uncovering that journalists are highly dependent on technology, and that the use of automation tools appears to be permanent.

Fischer reassured the audience stating that, while automation may seem scary, it can in fact render journalism more efficient, relieving monotonous responsibilities from journalists.

Questions from the audience suggested that there was a lot of anxiety about what automated journalism would do to jobs within the industry: responding to this, both panellists admitted that journalistic roles centred around data-heavy reporting were outdated and at risk, while any journalism that involved empathy and emotional analysis does not appear to be threatened by automated progress.

Both were keen to examine how different tools were being used in newsrooms, and gave examples of tools that helpfully restricted data to the “threshold of relevance”, and made way for new roles for data scientists in newsrooms.