'Virtual newsreader' on Archant local sites

Archant Herts & Cambs has introduced has introduced a "virtual newsreader" to read bulletins on the companion web sites for a stable of weekly newspapers.

The Welwyn & Hatfield Times site is the first in the Herts24 stable to use the virtual newsreader, known as Miranda Fox.

The SitePal software embedded within the site combines text-to-speech software with an animated charachter. Web editors can change Miranda's appearance and alter the bulletins she reads by entering text into the software.

"We have some difficulty with some of the words which we have to spell out phonetically in order for her to speak them correctly" said web editor Sam Newby-Ricci.

"She does struggle with ‘Welwyn'," said Newby-Ricci.

"You get around that by typing it in wrongly, which is a bit of an art."

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