Finding the news you need in a world of noise

News can distract and slow down decision-making if digested in the wrong way. Leveraging news to power faster, better informed decisions requires humans and machines to work in tandem

News has long been critical to business decision-making. Not only does it help inform decision-makers as to why markets are moving, but often it is the reason for market movement in itself. As a result, it is essential that business leaders are able to access accurate, up-to-date news content from trusted and reliable sources around the world.

The evolution of news over the last two decades has had both a positive and negative impact on this access. On the one hand, the internet has accelerated the pace of news, to the extent that news now unravels in real time, and it has democratised access. On the other hand, this has created a noisier and more confusing news environment, where it is hard to differentiate between valuable information and, at the extreme end, pure fabrication.

For business leaders who rely on news content, this has created significant challenges. Markets move fast and, as such, often require fast decision-making. While the internet will very quickly provide you with the information that search algorithms think you want, market participants have little time to decipher whether that information is relevant and accurate before needing to act.

Technology should speed up decision-making, but it’s having the opposite effect

“With news coming in every direction, users are often bombarded with information, opinions, speculation and sometimes misinformation,” says Michael Salk, managing director at Moody’s Analytics. “Where we used to have a small list of go-to sources, that has now expanded exponentially as users are getting news constantly streamed to their desktop and devices. There are so many sources of news, but how do you determine what’s relevant?

“Technology should speed up decision-making, but it’s having the opposite effect. And not only because of ‘fake news’ and the like, but because search and news aggregation algorithms don’t tag intelligently enough. Consider articles written for a newspaper such as USA Today, for example. The newspaper is owned by Gannett and oftentimes its news stories are tagged on internet sites as being about Gannett, but clearly not every story bylined to USA Today is about its parent company. Yet we often see people will search for genuine news about Gannett Co., Inc. only to have to trudge through stories that have nothing to do with Gannett the company.”

Advances in machine intelligence mean technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can now not only rapidly acquire, aggregate and distribute news content, but also ingest and enrich it. However, relying on technology alone to push the most relevant and timely news content to decision-makers is risky. Instead, organisations are increasingly embracing a ‘hybrid’ approach which combines the capabilities of these technologies with human-driven curation to ensure content is objective and consistent.

Moody’s Analytics is trailblazing this hybrid approach. Its NewsEdge solution, powered by AI and machine learning, ingests over 600,000 articles from real-time news sources, and the best of the business web and social media each day, to deliver relevant, trusted information to decision-makers in sub-seconds. The technology is supported by a team of library scientists and data scientists who monitor and enrich the process.

“We add value to the news by enriching the content with actionable signals so our users can anticipate and react to market-impacting events,” says Salk. “We categorise and tag each story for entity, topic, sentiment and event-based indicators within sub-seconds for real-time decision-making. This process is continuously monitored using the latest AI and human insights to manage and enhance our solutions.

“Being part of the Moody’s ecosystem means we can provide a 360-degree view. Our Master Data Management solutions cover over 400 million entities that can help firms reliably identify the entities with which they do business, and our news solutions provide insights about those entitles spanning the past 20-plus years, enabling us to train models with a deep learning data set. Market participants will always look to news to inform their actions, and we combine news, data and models to provide insights that enable timely, high-quality decisions.”

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