Serving the High Plains

Publisher's journal: Dear ChatGPT: You need to hire more fact checkers

I’m told ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence tool that can answer questions.

So I gave it a try.

Me: Who is David Stevens, publisher of The Eastern New Mexico News?

ChatGPT: David Stevens is a journalist and the publisher of the Eastern New Mexico News, a daily newspaper based in Clovis, New Mexico. He has been with the newspaper since 1998 and has served as publisher since 2011.

Fact check: The Eastern New Mexico News is not a daily paper. It publishes twice a week. I started working here in 2001, not 1998. I became publisher in November 2018, not 2011.

Me: Who is the mayor of Clovis, New Mexico?

ChatGPT: I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I do not have real-time information. However, as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the mayor of Clovis, NM, was David Lansford. It’s possible that there may have been a new mayor elected since then.

Fact check: Mike Morris succeeded Lansford as Clovis mayor in March 2020.

Me: What’s the best song ever recorded about Tucumcari, New Mexico?

ChatGPT: One notable song that mentions Tucumcari is “Willin” by Little Feat. The song is about a truck driver who is willing to take on any job, and it mentions driving through Tucumcari in the second verse.

Fact check: “Willin” does not mention Tucumcari in the second verse, but its chorus goes, “I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah.”

Me: Who is the most famous person from Portales, New Mexico?

ChatGPT: One of the most well-known individuals from Portales is musician and songwriter Michael Martin Murphey. Murphey, who was born in Dallas, Texas, spent his formative years in Portales and attended Eastern New Mexico University. … Other notable individuals from Portales include former NFL player Danny Mason and former NASA astronaut Mike Mullane.

Fact check: Not even close.

Murphey was born in Dallas and graduated high school there before attending college at the University of North Texas. If he lived in Portales or attended college at ENMU, he doesn’t mention it on his website or in multiple interviews in which he talks about how much he loves New Mexico.

Mason never played in the NFL, though he had several tryouts with NFL teams. He grew up in Louisville, Ky., and played college football at Texas A&M-Commerce. He probably played a few games against ENMU.

Mullane is a retired NASA astronaut and Air Force officer who was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, and graduated high school in Albuquerque. If he or Mason ever lived in Portales, it’s not been reported by anyone … other than ChatGPT.

I’ve been told news reporters will one day be replaced by artificial intelligence.

Fact check: I’m happy to report that day is not today.

David Stevens is publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Email him at:

[email protected]

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