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USA Today removes 23 stories after internal probe finds reporter ‘fabricated’ quotes

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USA Today on Thursday said that it had removed 23 stories from its website after an internal investigation found that one of its journalists had apparently “fabricated” quotes in her stories.

The company revealed that it had conducted an investigation into Miranda’s reporting following an “external correction request.”

“After receiving an external correction request, USA Today audited the reporting work of Gabriela Miranda,” said an editor’s note written by USA Today’s managing editor of standards, Michael McCarter. “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.”

“As a result,” the note added, “USA Today removed 23 articles from its website and other platforms for not meeting our editorial standards.”

McCarter’s note included a list of stories that were removed. These articles ranged from Texas’ ban on abortion after six weeks, the reaction of women in Ukraine to the Russian invasion to a guide on sunscreen. Readers who click on those links now see an editor’s note that says the article “has been removed from our platforms because it does not meet our standards.”

USA Today said that Miranda, who was a breaking news reporter, had resigned. Miranda’s first story for USA Today was published in spring 2021 while her most recent story is dated April 17.

USA Today said that it strives “to be accurate and factual” and that it “regret this situation.”

The newspaper said that it will, as a result, improve its process for those who want to “lodge complaints or request corrections” and it will “ensure stories have clear and sufficient identifying information for individuals quoted.”

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