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Sports Illustrated’s AI-Generated Writers: A New Era in Journalism? (Report)

According to reports, Sports Illustrated, a renowned sports journalism magazine, recently found itself at the center of a unique controversy involving AI-generated writers. This development raises questions about the future of journalism and the ethical implications of using AI in content creation.

Key Takeaways

  • Sports Illustrated published articles by AI-generated writers, raising ethical concerns.
  • The AI authors had realistic biographies but were non-existent entities.
  • The content, often awkwardly written, was also likely AI-generated.
  • The magazine’s publisher, The Arena Group, initially did not respond to inquiries but later blamed a contractor.
  • This incident reflects a broader trend of AI use in journalism, with mixed results.

AI Writers: Crossing the Line of Journalism Ethics?

The revelation that Sports Illustrated used AI-generated writers for its content has sparked a debate on journalistic integrity. The magazine, known for its high-quality sports journalism, featured articles by authors like Drew Ortiz, who, upon investigation, appeared to be non-existent. Ortiz’s profile, along with others, was found to be AI-generated, with no social media presence or publishing history. Their profile photos were available for sale on a website selling AI-generated headshots.

The Unsettling Reality of AI Content

The content attributed to these AI authors often sounded unnatural, suggesting that not only the authors’ identities but also the articles themselves were AI-generated. This situation was confirmed by sources involved in the content creation. The articles, mostly product reviews, lacked the human touch and quality expected from a publication like Sports Illustrated.

The Arena Group’s Response and Ethical Implications

When approached for comments, The Arena Group, which manages Sports Illustrated, initially did not respond. Later, they blamed a third-party company, AdVon Commerce, for the content, claiming it was human-written and edited. However, this response did not address the use of AI-generated headshots and biographies. The incident highlights the ethical challenges and reader trust issues faced by media outlets experimenting with AI in journalism.

The Broader Trend of AI in Journalism

Sports Illustrated is not alone in its use of AI for content creation. Other publications have also experimented with AI-generated content, often leading to factual errors, plagiarism, and a loss of reader trust. This trend underscores the need for clear guidelines and ethical standards in the use of AI in journalism.


The use of AI-generated writers by Sports Illustrated marks a significant moment in journalism, reflecting the growing influence of AI in content creation. While AI offers potential efficiencies and innovations, this incident underscores the importance of maintaining journalistic integrity and ethical standards. As AI continues to evolve, the media industry must navigate these new waters carefully, balancing innovation with the responsibility to provide accurate, trustworthy content.

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