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Weekend Deja Vu: Virtual Newsreaders Making A Comeback? Probably Not

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Oh dear. Remember Ananova, Press Association’s virtual newsreader that was killed off after the site’s acquisition by Orange? Northcliffe remembers, too, and – though the flaky experiment was headline-grabbing eight years ago, the DMGT regional division is trying the concept again for its ThisIsGrimsby local news site.

While other news operations embrace “integration” by mounting cameras in the newsroom and hiring anchors to deliver reports through the day, ThisIsGrimsby settles for a robotic avatar from New York-based SitePal, monotonously reading a text feed. Despite deja vu hoo-hah about this being a “virtual newsreader”, they’ve even gone to the trouble of inventing a persona for the 35-year-old mother-of-two. You decide…