For young athletes, there are few moments as exciting as when they first see their name in the newspaper — preferably for a goal scored, or a save made, and extra points if a local reporter asks for a quote. That dynamic is now on the line at Gannett, the publisher of USA Today and many other regional newspapers, where it was forced to pause the publication of abysmally low quality AI-generated articles about high school sports. We were curious: how would a sports writer at a Gannett publication feel about the AI articles? So we asked one, though we’re keeping them anonymous and not sharing which newsroom they work at to protect their job. “High school reporting is different from covering college or professional sports,” the sports writer told us. “And high school reporting can go underappreciated, but it’s extremely important. You’re covering a community.” “You’re not writing for as big of an audience, but you’re writing for a very, very specific one,” they added. “Family members — uncles, parents, people who care that your story has their kids’ names. They’re looking for keepsakes, things they can remember from their kids’ high school career.” To be clear, meaningful high school sports journalism is alive and well, in Gannett papers and elsewhere. It’s fall sports season, after all, and reporters across the country, from suburbia to sprawling rural regions, are taking to the stands to cover local matchups. These reporters know the players — who to watch, if they’re planning to continue…Gannett Sports Writer on Botched AI-Generated Sports Articles: "Embarrassing"