There Are (Almost) No Robots in Journalism – An attempt at a differentiated classification and terminology of automation in journalism on the base of the concept of distributed and gradualised action

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


Human-Machine Communication and fields like journalism studies have been discussing new technological developments in journalism, especially automation technologies like automated writing software. However, existing literature has terminological problems: Terms are not distinctly defined and delimited, different aspects can be referred to with the same term, while different, often misleading, terms exist for the same aspect. As a result, it is often unclear which concept is being referred to. To gain a better understanding and modeling of automation in journalism as well as a theoretical foundation, this paper first describes current problems with terms used in scientific literature and argues that existing automation taxonomies are not fully transferrable to journalism, making a new theoretical basis necessary. Subsequently, Rammert and Schulz-Schaeffer’s concept of distributed and gradualised action is described and proposed as such a theoretical basis for the unification of terminology and conceptual foundations, providing the opportunity to empirically and normatively describe automation as well as delivering necessary theoretical underpinnings. Lastly, the concept is applied to automation in journalism, resulting in a proposed automation concept, suggestions for terminology, and further implications for Human-Machine Communication theory.


Seiten (von - bis)487-515
Fachzeitschrift Publizistik : Vierteljahreshefte für Kommunikationsforschung
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 24 Nov. 2022

Externe IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-3556-6517/work/141543666


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