President and CEO of the Yonhap News Agency Cho Sung-boo (Photo: Yonhap)

Hanoi (VNA) – President and CEO of Yonhap News Agency Cho Sung-boo has shared the experience of his news agency in applying cutting-edge technologies in news production ahead of the 44th meeting of the Executive Board of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific Agencies (OANA) in Hanoi.

In an interview granted to the host Vietnam News Agency, Cho Sung-boo, as Vice President of OANA, also recommended cooperation areas for OANA news agencies in order to improve the organisation’s operational efficiency.

The following is the full text of the interview.  

Question: The modern media landscape requires all of us to have technical knowledge and to innovate. This is also the theme of the 44th Executive Board Meeting of OANA in Hanoi. Yonhap has applied cutting-edge technologies in news production, including an automated reporting system. Can you share Yonhap's experience in maintaining and consolidating its position amidst fierce competition?

Answer: Soccerbot was Yonhap's first robot journalist, developed to cover the results of English Premier League (EPL) matches, which generate huge interest in South Korea. Soccerbot has three stages: The Data Scraping Engine collects data on each match, the Text-Writing Algorithm autonomously organizes sentences from the collected data to construct a full text article, and finally the Article Template polishes the article by dividing phrases into smaller segments and adjusts them by mimicking the text patterns of human journalists. Soccerbot ran from January to May 2018, creating 169 articles on EPL games.

The Olympicbot was an AI-based robot reporter developed to cover news on the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Olympicbot was able to autonomously interpret the progress of the Games and produce a number of different articles, including upcoming event schedules, match reports, medals tables and, more importantly, even cover relatively unpopular events that were not allocated to reporters for coverage due to time and manpower limits. Olympicbot automatically produced and distributed 1,190 news articles on the PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics.

Yonhap News Agency will continue to invest in developing innovative content production technology.

Question: What cooperation areas should OANA news agencies focus on to improve the OANA's operational efficiency?

Answer: Yonhap News Agency will assume the presidency of OANA after hosting the 17th OANA General Assembly in November. We will endeavor to promote active exchanges of news and information, alleviate the information gap between countries and encourage expanded cooperative measures among OANA members. Yonhap asks for support from all OANA members to make joint efforts to achieve these goals. 

The first clause of the OANA statute states that its purpose is "to increase and facilitate a freer flow of news and information in Asia and the Pacific." Therefore, OANA's official website must be updated to provide a better media environment for more convenient exchanges and sharing of news content between members.

Since the current OANA website requires the manual uploading of articles and photos, the system must be changed to enable automatic uploads of news content from each OANA member, which will naturally lead to an increase in the volume of news content shared on the website.

Moreover, annual OANA General Assemblies and Executive Board Meetings should be become practical meetings for helping members chart their future strategies, rather than social gatherings of representatives from OANA member agencies to make vague promises on cooperation.

We hope OANA will assume a leading role in protecting the intellectual properties and rights of member agencies for content distribution, as well as safeguarding their mutual interests.-VNA