Lede AI has supplemented human coverage of college preparatory schools with AI, increasing overall readership. Other uses of the AI have not gone over so well. (Source: ledeai.com)

Newspapers Back Off AI Content for Its Lack of Accuracy, Dullness in Sports Stories

If you have been thinking of employing chat AI to help write your paper for a class in school or to create your month-end report at work you might want to reconsider. While ChatGPT-4 and others are taking the computer world by storm lately, it still isn’t 100% accurate. A story we found at cnn.com explains how a major newspaper chain got burned using AI to write scrub stories about high school sports.

Newspaper chain Gannett has paused the use of an AI tool to write high school sports dispatches after the technology made several major flubs in articles in at least one of its papers.

Several high school sports reports written by an AI service called LedeAI and published by the Columbus Dispatch earlier this month went viral on social media this week — and not in a good way.

Mistakes Were Made

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of sports writing, you at least have to have some passion for the athletes and their sport. AI has yet to develop emotion. At least as far as we know.

“In one notable example, preserved by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, the story began: ‘The Worthington Christian [[WINNING_TEAM_MASCOT]] defeated the Westerville North [[LOSING_TEAM_MASCOT]] 2-1 in an Ohio boys soccer game on Saturday.’ The page has since been updated.”

Social media posters attacked the reports for being, “repetitive, lacking key details, using odd language, and generally sounding like they’d been written by a computer with no actual knowledge of sports.”

Papers Losing Readership

It is no secret that print newspapers have been struggling for decades because the internet changed their business model. Bringing in AI to cut costs hasn’t worked out because the algorithms are not as capable as human reporters. The idea was to supplement human reporting with AI to expand coverage, but that backfired.

Gannett has paused its experiment with LedeAI in all of its local markets that had been using the service, according to the company. The pause was earlier reported by Axios.

“In addition to adding hundreds of reporting jobs across the country, we are experimenting with automation and AI to build tools for our journalists and add content for our readers,” a Gannett spokesperson said in a statement. “We are continually evaluating vendors as we refine processes to ensure all the news and information we provide meets the highest journalistic standards.”

LedeAI CEO Jay Allred said the company “immediately launched an around-the-clock effort to correct the problems and made the appropriate changes.”

The AI tool debacle comes after Gannett axed hundreds of jobs in December when it laid off 6% of its news division. It also comes as many news outlets grapple with how to handle the rapid advancement of AI technology.

CNET earlier this year also paused an experiment using AI to write stories after it had to issue multiple corrections on AI-generated reports.

read more at cnn.com