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The Unviersity of Minnesota's journalism school. (Credit: Wikipedia)

The University of Minnesota’s student newspaper the Minnesota Daily fired sports reporter Grant Donald for faking interviews.

When confronted, Donald fessed up to the fabrications of some of his interviews for sports articles. Sports editor Ben Gotz told iMediaEthics that Donald indicated he fabricated due to stress and being overworked. (iMediaEthics has reached out to Donald via Twitter for comment about his firing.)

The Minnesota Daily is now reviewing all of Donald’s articles after more athletes questioned his work. Gotz told iMediaEthics by phone that he and the former sports editor are reviewing all of his work by attempting to contact all the sources he has used.

The Minnesota Daily unpublished one of his stories and posted corrections on two of his articles. The corrections are also on the Minnesota Daily‘s corrections page. Gotz said the newspaper unpublished the one article in its entirety because it was “completely fabricated” but left the others up because they were only “partially fabricated” and could be fixed with corrections.

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Donald’s July 8 article, “Mbakwe continues career abroad” carries  this correction:

“Correction: Former Daily reporter Grant Donald fabricated an interview with Chris Fleming, coach of the German basketball team Brose Baskets Bamberg, for this story. The false quotes have been removed and Grant has been terminated. The Daily‘s investigation into Grant’s body of work is ongoing.”
Donald’s July 1 article, “Deng fails to advance at U.S. Track Championships” has this correction:
“Correction: Former Daily reporter Grant Donald was found to have fabricated interviews with Goaner Deng and Hassan Mead for this story. The false quotes have been removed and Grant has been terminated. The Daily‘s investigation into Grant’s body of work is ongoing.”
Gotz published a story on the paper’s website revealing the fabrication. Gotz said the Minnesota Daily found out about concerns that some interviews had been faked last Thursday, unpublished one of the stories Friday, and finally heard back from Donald admitting to the fabrication Sunday.
“I will try my best to take precautionary measures in the future,” Gotz said of attempting to prevent repeat incidents. But, for now, the newspaper is focused on correcting any errors or removing any fabrications from Donald’s work.
“We want to take every step necessary to correct any errors that may have been published,” Gotz said, noting that he’s been apologizing to sources who were affected by  the fabrications.

Donald has written for the paper since August, but the Pioneer Press’ website Twin Cities noted that he also has written two freelance stories for the Pioneer Press, which has already fact checked those stories in light of this incident and found no problems.

The Pioneer Press’s Mike Decaire told iMediaEthics by e-mail: “We circled back with all the sources quoted in his stories for us and they confirmed that they were accurately quoted. ”

UPDATED: with response from Pioneer Press


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Minnesota Daily fires sports reporter for fake interviews

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