Reporting scandal aftermath prompts editor

22 April 2004

Karen Jurgensen, beleaguered editor of USA Today has resigned in the wake of a reporting scandal.

Jurgensen resigned after her failure to spot fabricated stories by the paper’s leading foreign correspondent Jack Kelley.

Embarrassingly for Jurgensen and the Gannett Company-owned paper, Kelley resigned last January after an expose by The Washington Post.

USA Today subsequently launched an investigation which appears to have precipitated the much respected Jurgensen’s departure.

"Like all of us who worked with Jack Kelley, I wish we had caught him far sooner than we did. The sad lessons learned by all in this dreadful situation will make USA Today a better, stronger newspaper," Jurgensen said.

The paper’s official stance is that Jurgensen has “retired”. Executive editor Brian Gallagher has been promoted until a replacement is appointed.

The USA Today affair is the latest major ethics scandal to hit the American press. Last June Howard Raines resigned as executive editor of the New York Times after one of his reporters was exposed for falsifying stories and interviews.

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff