USA Today writer resigns after plagiarism discovered

The office complex of USA Today and parent company Gannett Corporation as it appeared in 2008.
The office complex of USA Today and parent company Gannett Company as it appeared in 2008. (Photo by Patrick Neil, Wikimedia Commons; Graphic by The Desk)

National newspaper USA Today says it has deleted nearly two dozen articles from its website after it was discovered a junior writer fabricated quotes and plagiarized other publications.

The articles written by Gabriela Miranda were focused on viral topics and Internet phenomenon, including a story on a sudden explosion of the capybara mammal in Argentina and a move by the video-centric social media platform TikTok to “ban” something called the “milk crate challenge.”

USA Today said it audited Miranda’s work after an outside party requested a correction on one of her articles. The specific article that triggered the probe wasn’t clear from USA Today’s statement. A spokesperson for Gannett Company, the parent of USA Today, said Miranda resigned this week.

“We strive to be accurate and factual in all our content and regret this situation,” the company said in a statement posted on its website, adding that the company is working to streamline is process for those who want to submit complaints and corrections.

The company also said it is working to “reinforce and strengthen our reporting and editing diligence” by ensuring “reporters take appropriate steps at all times to verify source information” and by applying “additional scrutiny to sources found through blind connections on social media platforms, by e-mail, etc.”

In addition to her work for USA Today, Miranda provided content for the USA Today Network, which syndicates content to the websites of local newspapers owned by Gannett.

Miranda graduated from the University of Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper. While attending the school, she worked for the campus newspaper, the Red & Black, from 2019 to 2021, according to a biography posted on the school newspaper’s website.

Miranda began working for Gannett Company in April 2021, one month before she graduated from college, the newspaper said. She was unreachable for comment on Friday after she deleted some of her social media accounts and set others to “private,” which requires authorization to follow or communicate with a person.