Ok. Yes. Gabriela Miranda made huge, reprehensible mistakes and is facing the consequences. However, we should spend more time critiquing newsroom and corporate leaders at USA Today. Here’s why 🧵
In my few years as a journalism educator, I’ve found that the younglings engage in unethical practices (ie, fabricating quotes, etc.) mostly out of desperation mixed with inexperience. Almost never laziness or nefarious intent
Their failure to meet standards says as much about the unmanageable pressure they deal with and the little support/guidance they have as their personal shortcomings
J-schools (and newsrooms for that matter) are supposed to provide the structure and support necessary for reporters (esp young ones) to face the complexities of journalism and apply rigor every step of the way
With Miranda we have an early career reporter coming out of one of the most prestigious j-schools in the country and landing in one of the biggest newsrooms. So, how does this happen??
Massive layoffs have been shaking the news industry for years and the pandemic brought about more dramatic cuts. Many of the dismissed editorial staff were fact checkers & copy editors who are vital to uphold journalistic rigor bit.ly/3zZdsNt
I don’t fully know USA Today’s situation but it had big rounds of layoffs in 2014 and at the beginning of the pandemic. Like many other outlets, it also faces huge pressure from Gannett to cut cost while chasing ad revenue + audience engagement to the detriment of good journalism
So, as newsrooms get rid of their internal accountability systems, exploit and underpay reporters, and thirst over likes for profit, we get the perfect breeding ground for (intentional and unintentional; disastrous and negligible) errors
Plug someone like Miranda, a young woman from a minoritized community trying to make it in a big (white) newsroom, and you get a recipe for failure
(Yes, I know that people fighting greater odds haven’t cheated to succeed. I’m not justifying or legitimizing her actions. I just understand that bigger forces were at play, setting the odds against a relatively vulnerable individual.)
It’s at this point that I resent USA T throwing Miranda under the bus saying that her work didn’t “meet our standards.” Excuse you? You PUBLISHED her work. You created an environment where basic fabrications could get past your team. Gann… USA Today failed her and the public
I’d be more suspicious of her editor than her. USA Today found out about this due to an EXTERNAL tip. Like, my friend, where were you with your fancy title and years of experience? Where’s your resignation letter? But no, it’s easier to put it all on Miranda
Anyhow, I hope this young reporter is surrounded by loving people and mentors who hold her accountable and give her the tools to grow. As for USA Today, their disloyalty is showing and their broken strategies could keep jeopardizing young reporters and journalism more broadly

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