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– Sports Illustrated Staff Condemns Cover-Up of AI Content: “Goes Against SI Values”

Sports Illustrated quietly used AI-generated authors and AI-generated articles and got caught. Its …

Staff members are frustrated by the revelation that Sports Illustrated had published AI-generated content under fictitious authors’ names before concealing the truth.

The utilization of AI-generated content by SI was initially reported by Surrealism on Monday. Reports indicate that SI released some AI-generated pieces under aliases of non-existent writers, accompanied by author photographs sourced from AI databases. These posts were promptly removed following inquiries from Futurism and Arena Group, the parent company of SI.

In a statement titled “The Humans of Sports Illustrated,” the SI Union expressed their discontent, stating, “If these allegations are true, they contradict the core principles of journalistic integrity that we uphold.”

We deeply regret any association with practices that show such disregard for our audience.

Responding to the recent exposé by @futurism, alleging that The Arena Group had disseminated AI-authored articles under fictitious identities bearing the Sports Illustrated branding. QcR4iGOi5w on twitter.com

November 27, 2023, Sports Illustrated Union (@si_union).

Throughout Monday, SI contributors voiced their reactions, ranging from endorsing the union’s stance to openly expressing animosity towards SI’s management.

Emma Baccellieri, a writer covering MLB, emphasized, “The attribution of a Sports Illustrated byline carries significant weight for me.” “Even before joining this publication, it held immense value. This revelation was truly disheartening.”

Values like credibility and journalistic ethics aside, the weight of a Sports Illustrated byline is substantial to me. It held significance long before I aspired to work here. Discovering this disclosure was truly disheartening.

November 27, 2023, Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccelleria)

College football reporter Richard Johnson characterized the incident as “contrary to everything SI stands for.”

During a recent conversation, a source jokingly questioned whether they were interacting with AI or the real Richard Johnson.

— Richard Johnson (human) November 27, 2023 (@RJ_cfb)

Feature Reporter Michael Rosenberg criticized the management for acting counter to the best interests of the staff.

In a post, he lamented, “It’s disheartening when individuals within our organization undermine our collective efforts.”

Our team is dedicated to upholding the esteemed legacy of Sports Illustrated. It’s disheartening when internal critiques diminish our hard work. http://t.co/Ukk7aOjkNg

— Michael Rosenberg (@Rosenberg_Mike) November 27, 2023

NFL writer Albert Breer condemned the use of AI techniques as tarnishing SI’s heritage.

I take immense pride in continuing the legacy of exceptional journalists from @SInow, who inspired my journalism career, akin to the remarkable sports reporters at @BostonGlobe.

The current situation is a far cry from that. t.co/HlL4aoYfso

November 27, 2023, Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer)

It is evident that AI has not yet gained full acceptance from viewers and staff members as a legitimate content creation tool. Employing subpar methods with technology is unacceptable, especially during a period of transformation and decline in traditional journalism business models.

Despite the evolving landscape of news consumption driven by 247 coverage and social media, there remains a strong demand for authentic sporting news.

While the media industry is lucrative, SI’s management is alienating both employees and consumers by engaging in unsettling practices rather than fostering genuine innovation.

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Last modified: February 19, 2024
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