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Reporter appreciates positive feedback from all sources, even AI [opinion]

I’ve received some very positive feedback lately on my work.

For example, the subject line of a May 6 email: “You’re on a roll.”

A week later, from the same source, “Your productivity is skyrocketing.”

These were probably AI generated, but I’ll take accolades however they come.

In the newspaper business, most compliments come from external sources. It’s just the way it is, and probably always has been.

How often do you think William Randolph Hearst and editors of his newspapers complimented their reporters for doing a great job on a story?

In the first half of the 20th century, when there were multiple dailies in every city, editors were already focused on the next edition by the time the papers rolled off the presses.

Feedback from editors was more likely to take the form of criticism, whether constructive or in reprisal to getting beat on a story by the competition.

My editors sometimes tell me “Good job” on a story, but it’s not something you expect. You’ll be disappointed way more often than not if you expect to be complimented on your work.

Readers are more likely to reach out to you by email or, less commonly nowadays, by phone to let you know they liked a story. That’s always appreciated.

Acquaintances and people I meet in the community will tell me how much they enjoyed the touch I gave to a column or article. The funny thing is, in the moment they rarely can recall what it was about, only that they liked it.

Sometimes I can jog their memory by mentioning a recent work, but it’s hard for me to remember what I wrote yesterday, much less a week or two ago.

The AI-generated feedback I’ve been receiving is different. The cheery subject line masks the content, which is mostly insights and analytics decorated with superlatives.

It’s from Grammarly, an online writing assistant tool I use to catch spelling and grammar errors to keep the present and former English teachers out there off my back. It doesn’t write for me; it simply checks everything I write using my computer, even email, for grammar.

I can and do reject some of its rephrasing suggestions, “You don’t write for a newspaper,” I’ll say silently as I click “dismiss.”

Even though I realize the weekly personalized statistical report from Grammarly Insights is mostly a marketing gadget, it’s still nice to open it and find out I’m killing it on several measures.

The May 13 report provided these insights on my writing over the previous week:

• I was more productive than 77% of Grammarly users (I would hope so since I write for a living).

• I used more unique words than 73% of Grammarly users (Interesting!).

• The tones most detected in my writing were confident, formal, direct and assertive.

• I was more accurate than 47% of Grammarly users (Good thing we don’t use manual typewriters anymore).

Source: Berkshire mont

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