USA Today Editor-In-Chief Takes Over ASU Initiative To ‘Reimagine’ Local Journalism

USA Today Editor-In-Chief Takes Over ASU Initiative To ‘Reimagine’ Local Journalism

By Corinne Murdock |

The former USA Today editor-in-chief took over the Arizona State University (ASU) initiative to “reimagine” local journalism efforts.

The editor-in-chief, Nicole Carroll, formerly served as editor of The Arizona Republic for nearly 20 years prior to joining USA Today. Both outlets are owned by the Gannett Company, where Carroll also served as president of news. 

USA Today hired Carroll following her Pulitzer Prize award for coverage of former President Donald Trump’s border wall plans. 

Under Carroll, The Arizona Republic broke precedent by endorsing a Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election. The editorial board at the time asserted that former President Donald Trump wasn’t conservative and therefore not qualified.

“Clinton has the temperament and experience to be president,” wrote the board. “Donald Trump does not.” 

In early 2020, just weeks before the declaration of a national emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak, The Arizona Republic said it would no longer endorse candidates. 

In a press release, Carroll said that reporters should embrace disruptive solutions when delivering the news.

“We must create and embrace disruptive solutions to engage and empower people with the news and information they need to strengthen our communities and democracy,” said Carroll. 

ASU said that Carroll’s role would be to develop new strategies and business models for local reporting through ASU Media Enterprise. 

Under Carroll, major articles included what was widely perceived as a hit piece portrayed as news rather than opinion against Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice Brett Kavanaugh ahead of his confirmation.

In one of Carroll’s last opinion pieces for USA Today before departing, Carroll featured former SCOTUS Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and discussed how the current SCOTUS erred in overturning Roe v. Wade.

Last summer, Carroll highlighted the USA Today goal of increasing gender and race-based diversity in newsrooms.

Carroll took over for her former longtime colleague: professor and managing program director, Mi-Ai Parrish, who’d most recently served as the publisher for The Arizona Republic. Both Carroll and Parrish served on The Arizona Republic editorial board together.

Together, Parrish and Carroll led on The Arizona Republic’s 2016 Clinton endorsement, along with Arizona Republic columnist Phil Boas. 

“Our editorial board’s DNA is strongly conservative,” said Boas.


Parrish was friends with newly-appointed Ninth Circuit Court judge Roopali Desai, casting her as a diversity appointment. 

“Interviewing fellow Athena and rockstar pal Judge Roopali Desai, first So. Asian on @US9thCircuit for an Asian Am Wonder Women evening. #truthmatters #justicematters #inclusionmatters,” tweeted Parrish.

ASU Media Enterprise houses Arizona PBS, the public broadcasting channel and platform; Issues in Science in Technology, a public policy forum partnering with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Zocalo Public Square, a humanities journal; Global Sports Matters, a sports publication; Transformations, an online magazine for narrative essays that serves as a publishing channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books; Narrative Storytelling Initiative, a writing projects cohort; Future Tense, a Washington, D.C. partnership with New America and Slate magazine to analyze and project technology’s impact on society; Leonardo, a problem-solving initiative combining the arts, sciences, and technology; KBAQ, a classical public radio station; Digital Audiences Lab, a student-led social media campaign strategy program; Innovation Happens, a student podcast to highlight the diversity of ASU. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to