Coming Soon: A Robot News Anchor

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CARSTEN KOALL/AFP/Getty Images

CARSTEN KOALL/AFP/Getty Images

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A start-up named Guide is working on a way to transform nearly any online article into a video news piece. The goal is to let viewers pick out exactly which stories they hear and which they skip. (Viewers would curate their own personalized newscasts from the news sites and blogs they already read.)

The service’s computerized characters read the stories, interspersing them with photos, videos, and info-graphics already included with the stories. Completing the TV-newscast feel, online comments run along the bottom of the screen in a ticker, and commercials will run between segments, as in any TV newscast.

Guide will gauge whether or not there is sufficient demand. If the answer is yes, it could fundamentally change how online journalists do their work—and how the audience consumes their content.

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