G/O Media logo Credit: G/O Media

A few weeks back, we wrote about the seemingly never-ending drama at G/O Media, wondering why writers would want to continue working for their collection of websites, which include Deadspin, Gizmodo, and The A.V. Club.

A week later, the union representing writers from those sites said they had been told by management that a “modest” test of AI-generated content would start appearing on G/O properties soon, once again prompting that very same question.

Why would anyone want to write for G/O Media?

The union said in their statement they were “appalled by this news” and that “introducing computer-generated garbage undermines our ability to do our jobs, erodes trust in us as journalists, damages our brands, and threatens our jobs.”

G/O management, which includes much-maligned CEO Jim Spanfeller and editorial director Merrill Brown, decided to push ahead anyway and AI-generated posts have started appearing on those sites.

On io9, which now lives under the Gizmodo brand, a computer-generated listicle of every Star Wars TV show and movie in chronological order was posted under the byline “Gizmodo Bot.” It’s worth noting much of the information in the article was incorrect.

James Whitbrook, the deputy editor of both Gizmodo and io9, shared on Twitter that he “was informed approximately 10 minutes beforehand, and no one at io9 played a part in its editing or publication.” He also shared a statement he sent to G/O Media along with many corrections he felt the article needed.

Over at The A.V. Club, you’ll find a generically written rundown of 2003’s best summer blockbusters for some reason (the post appears to have put behind a password on the actual site).

And “Deadspin Bot” penned its first article over at the sports site, all about the most valuable sports franchises. Every blurb in the post begins the exact same way, with “[TEAM] is the [RANK] most valuable sports franchise in the world.”

“So Deadspin and other G/O sites started publishing content written by AI today,” wrote former Deadspin EIC Julie DiCaro on Bluesky (she still works as a senior writer and editor there). “It’s a sad and depressing day for all of us. And it’s difficult to watch people playing around with AI and talking about how much fun it is knowing that it’s eventually coming for our jobs, inaccurate information at all.”

Deadspin also already features a substantial amount of generic content provided by Field Level Media (example here), which provides syndicated sports content to its clients.

One G/O editorial employee told AA in June that the generic posts are “drowning the RSS feed and causing people to stop reading the site.” Another G/O Media source said that Field Level Media content was meant to supplement Deadspin editorial staff content, not replace it. Presumably, that would also be the thought for AI-generated content, but the GMG Union doesn’t seem to be buying that.

“G/O management ignored our letter and proceeded with publishing AI-generated content on our sites,” wrote the union on Twitter. “This is unethical and unacceptable. If you see a byline ending in “Bot,” don’t click it.”


Like the syndicated sports content that makes up much of Deadspin’s daily output, the presumption would be that AI-generated SEO articles like these would help pad the traffic stats of G/O’s sites. However, it’s safe to assume that Google is going to be fairly wary of this kind of useless content, especially since it’s full of inaccuracies and basic grammatical errors. The question quickly becomes “Who is this for?” and there doesn’t seem to be a good answer.

If this is the future that AI content is promising, it doesn’t seem like many people want it other than those in the C-suite.

[James Whitbrook, GMG Union]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.