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USA Today, no stranger to controversy, removed 23 articles from its website after an audit found a now-former reporter appeared to fabricate sources and failed to meet editorial standards, the newspaper announced on Thursday.
The reporter, Gabriela Miranda, has resigned from the paper. She also appeared to have deactivated her Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
“After receiving an external correction request, USA TODAY audited the reporting work of Gabriela Miranda. The audit revealed that some individuals quoted were not affiliated with the organizations claimed and appeared to be fabricated. The existence of other individuals quoted could not be independently verified. In addition, some stories included quotes that should have been credited to others,” USA Today wrote in a message to readers.
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“As a result, USA TODAY removed 23 articles from its website and other platforms for not meeting our editorial standards,” the message continued. “We strive to be accurate and factual in all our content and regret this situation.”
The paper insisted it would “continue to reinforce and strengthen our reporting and editing diligence and processes” with a series of steps, including improving the process for requesting corrections, ensuring stories have “clear and sufficient identifying information for individuals quoted” and making sure reporters properly verify source information.
USA Today also declared it would “apply additional scrutiny to sources found through blind connections on social media platforms, via email, etc.” and reinforce “standards for crediting other outlets for their work.”
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The paper then listed the headlines of all 23 stories, and each link informs readers “this story has been removed from our platforms because it does not meet our standards.”
The New York Times reported that “Miranda took steps to deceive investigators by producing false evidence of her newsgathering, including recordings of interviews, one of the people said.”
USA Today did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The now-deleted stories include “Washington, DC couples call wedding dance ban excessive,” “TikTok bans ‘milk crate challenge’ from its app, citing concerns over dangerous acts,” “‘Friends are also family’: How the unofficial holiday Friendsgiving has grown,” “The top 10 most popular liquors during Christmas and why you should grab yours now,” “McDonald’s employee leaps out of drive-thru window to save woman choking on a chicken nugget,” “Anti-vaxxer pushes urine therapy as ‘COVID antidote’ without scientific evidence” and “Russian troops halt attack of nuclear power plant but remain in control. How dangerous could this be?”
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Miranda could not immediately be reached for comment.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.