USA Today Updates Every AI-Generated Sports Article to Correct “Errors”

After pressing pause on its messy foray into AI-generated content, publishing giant Gannett seems to be making use of the AI effort’s downtime. Gannett, which owns USA Today in addition to hundreds of local publications including The Arizona Republic, The Detroit Free Press, and The Tennessean, entered the internet’s crosshairs last week when it was discovered that the publisher was quietly rolling out AI-generated high school sports stories in its regional newspapers. Criticism abounded. The AI-spun sports blurbs, generated by a company dubbed Lede AI and designed to sum up the scores and basic events of any given high school match-up in varying Gannett-served regions, were terrible, repetitive, and sometimes borderline illegible, clearly written by something that didn’t witness the event in question. In our reporting, we also found that some of the AI-generated nonsense was being published in USA Today proper, and not just on the websites of hyperlocal Gannett-owned newspapers. In its attempt to save face, the publisher chose to “pause” its AI machine. But Gannett seems reluctant to completely pull the plug. Case in point: rather than simply scrubbing its many pages of Lede AI-generated content clean, the publisher appears to now be updating the automated sports blurbs to “correct errors in coding, programming or style.” This rewrite effort has included updating every AI-cheffed article that’s appeared in USA Today. Take, for example, this article, which was first published by The Tennessean and later circulated in USA Today. As archived, the content originally read: The Hardin County Tigers…USA Today Updates Every AI-Generated Sports Article to Correct “Errors”

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