USA Today removes 23 stories, journalist Gabriela Miranda says, fabricated sources

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USA Today removed 23 stories from its website on Thursday after an internal audit found the reporter who wrote them misattributed quotes and, in some cases, may have fabricated interviews and sources.

Late-breaking reporter Gabriela Miranda has resigned from the paper and could not be reached for comment. USA Today deleted nearly two dozen stories she wrote between the spring of 2021 (“TikTok bans ‘milk crate challenge’ from its app, citing concerns about unsafe acts”) and the spring of this year (“‘This is my land, I stay’: These Ukrainian women are among thousands who choose to fight, not flee”).

USA Today published a list of the deleted articles along with a brief account of its investigation into Miranda, which the company says began with an “external correction request” several weeks ago. The audit eventually expanded to encompass a wide swath of his reporting, which focused on hot topics and viral stories.

“The audit revealed that some of the individuals named were not affiliated with the claimed organizations and appeared to have been fabricated,” the newspaper said in a statement. statement. “The existence of other named individuals could not be independently verified. Additionally, some stories included quotes that should have been credited to others.

A spokesperson for USA Today’s parent company, Gannett, referred The Washington Post to the newspaper’s statement when asked for more details. The New York Times reported for the first time that the publication had deleted the stories.

Making sources, quotes or anecdotes is considered journalistic malpractice by most news outlets and usually leads to the dismissal of the offender. Most newspapers correct the record as USA Today did, alerting readers to problematic works.

Such cases have often caused scandal. The Post returned a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 after its reporter, Janet Cooke, admitted she cooked up a story about an 8-year-old heroin addict. The Times was also embarrassed in 2003 by revelations that journalist Jayson Blair had fabricated events in articles published under his signature and had plagiarized the stories of other journalists. USA Today reporter Jack Kelley quit in 2004 after the newspaper was unable to verify claims he made in stories he reported from around the world.

Prior to joining USA Today, Miranda worked for the Gainesville Times, covering education and issues relevant to the Hispanic community. The newspaper’s editor, Shannon Casas, did not respond to a request for comment.

While in college at the University of Georgia, from which she graduated in 2021, Miranda worked for a student publication, the Red & Black.

His first article for USA Today was published in the spring of 2021, according to a news archive search. His most recent, an April story about a freighter stuck in the Chesapeake Bayhas not been removed.

At a roundtable for the Stony Brook University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in March, Miranda said she had recently moved on to breaking news and business beats, which she said “Is [she] really wanted to come in.

USA Today also announced steps to prevent similar issues from happening again, including a promise to improve the process for filing complaints and requesting corrections; a requirement that news stories “contain clear and sufficient identifying information for the persons quoted”; and a mandate to “apply additional scrutiny to sources found through blind connections on social media platforms, email, etc.”

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