Gannett pauses AI-generated high school sports recaps

Occurred: August-September 2023

Newspaper group Gannett suspended its use of Lede AI to generate recaps of high school sports articles after complaints about inaccuracies, omitting important details, and poor language, grammar, and tone.

In an early example, users noticed that an article published by the Columbus Dispatch began: 'The Worthington Christian [[WINNING_TEAM_MASCOT]] defeated the Westerville North [[LOSING_TEAM_MASCOT]] 2-1 in an Ohio boys soccer game on Saturday.' 

Reports by the Louisville Courrier Journal, AZ Central, Florida Today, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other Gannett publications were studded with clear errors, unwanted repetition, and awkward phrasing, indicating Lede AI's generative artificial intelligence system was being used across Gannett's business units.

Gannett 'temporarily' halted its use of LedeAI, and affected articles were updated with the wording: This AI-generated story has been updated to correct errors in coding, programming or style. 

Some commentators also took issue with Gannett's use of AI to produce content. The group axed 6% of its news division in late 2022 and had been experimenting with automation and AI to increase productivity.

Operator: Gannett
Developer: Lede AI
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Generate news articles  
Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Employment
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

News, commentary, analysis 🗞️