Crafting NLP Techniques for Automating News Headline Generation

Crafting NLP Techniques for Automating News Headline Generation

In the rapidly evolving world of digital media, staying abreast of the latest news and presenting it in an engaging manner has become crucial for publishers and content creators. The task of crafting compelling headlines, traditionally the domain of experienced journalists and copywriters, is undergoing a transformative shift thanks to advancements in Natural Language Processing (NLP). In this blog post, we delve into the innovative realm of news headline generation using NLP methods, exploring how these technologies are reshaping the landscape of news dissemination.

The Future of News Headlines: A Leap with GPT

In the bustling world of newsrooms, where time is of the essence and creativity is paramount, a groundbreaking approach has emerged from the University of Helsinki and École Normale Supérieure-PSL. This innovative research by Koppatz et al. (2022) introduces a novel method for generating factual news headlines in Finnish, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence. At the heart of this method is a custom-built Finnish GPT-2 model, meticulously trained and fine-tuned on a vast corpus of news articles.

Headlines are important when people decide which articles to read

The challenge of crafting the perfect headline, which captures the essence of a story while engaging the reader, has long been a time-consuming task for editors. This research offers a beacon of hope, not only in streamlining this process but in enhancing the creative output of news agencies. The AI model’s ability to generate diverse, relevant, and captivating headlines transforms it into an indispensable tool for editors, promising a new era of efficiency and innovation in news production.

Following a human evaluation conducted with expert journalists, the model’s outputs have been praised for their usability and relevance, marking a significant step forward in the application of AI in journalism. As we stand on the cusp of this technological revolution, one thing is clear: the future of news headlines is bright, and it is powered by artificial intelligence.

Giving Headlines a Humorous Twist

In the bustling corridors of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Arts, a groundbreaking study unveils a novel chapter in the narrative of artificial intelligence: a machine’s ability to craft humor. Spearheaded by the ingenious minds of Khalid Alnajjar and Mika Hämäläinen (2021), this research transcends the traditional boundaries of automated news generation, venturing into the realm of humor, a distinctly human attribute.

For too long, the headlines churned out by algorithms have been shackled by the monotony of templates, devoid of creativity or laughter. Alnajjar and Hämäläinen’s endeavor presents a computational solution capable of injecting wit into the mundane, transforming existing headlines into comedic gold. Their system, evaluated through the discerning lens of human judges against the backdrop of human-authored jokes, demonstrates a promising capacity for humor, with an approval rating of 36% for its generated headlines.

Not all headlines need to be serious

At the heart of this exploration lies a profound understanding of humor’s complexity, an attribute inherently tied to the perceiver’s interpretation. The research underscores the significance of incongruity in humor, leveraging linguistic creativity to juxtapose unexpected elements within headlines for comedic effect. By modifying a single word, the system breathes life into news titles, marrying the factual with the fanciful to elicit laughter.

The implications of this study extend beyond the novelty of humorous headlines, hinting at a future where artificial intelligence could play a pivotal role in content creation across media. It challenges the narrative that machines lack the subtlety or depth to understand and replicate human humor, showcasing instead their potential to contribute meaningfully to the creative process.

As we stand on the brink of this new dawn, the work of Alnajjar and Hämäläinen serves as a beacon, illuminating the path toward a world where machines can share in the joy of laughter. It invites us to reimagine the boundaries of computational creativity, encouraging a symbiotic relationship between human wit and computational ingenuity.


Maximilian Koppatz, Khalid Alnajjar, Mika Hämäläinen, and Thierry Poibeau. 2022. Automatic Generation of Factual News Headlines in Finnish. In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Natural Language Generation, pages 100–109, Waterville, Maine, USA and virtual meeting. Association for Computational Linguistics.

Khalid Alnajjar, and Mika Hämäläinen. 2021. When a Computer Cracks a Joke: Automated Generation of Humorous Headlines. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC 2021). Association for Computational Creativity.