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  • Voltaire Staff

USA Today owner ropes in AI to write news summaries; union expresses concern

Gannett, the media giant behind numerous US newspapers, is rolling out a new initiative which involves integrating AI-generated bullet points, called "key points," into journalists' articles.

These summaries, generated automatically, will be positioned beneath the headlines to provide readers with quick insights into the story.

The bottom of articles will include a disclaimer, reading, "The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI."

The summaries seem to be already active on certain online stories from USA Today, owned by Gannett. 

The information was disclosed in an internal memo obtained by The Verge. The memo, dated May 14, specifies that participation in the programme is currently optional.

As per the memo, the AI-generated summary "aims to enhance the reporting process and elevate the audience experience."

The memo states that the AI model that powers the tool was trained in-house over nine months

"The document speaks for itself," Lark-Marie Anton, spokesperson for Gannett said in an email.

Gannett has tried AI content before, but faced setbacks. Last August, they stopped AI-generated sports recaps due to awkward writing mocked by readers. In October, Reviewed staff claimed AI was used for online content.

Unionised workers at the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, New York, expressed alarm when a new clause was added to their contract during negotiations, as reported by Digiday, the online daily news reporter.

The clause read, "Artificial intelligence (AI) may be used to generate news content."

Image Source: Unsplash




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