2017 Single-Topic News or Feature for Print/Online (Medium Staff) Winner

Bethany Barnes (journalist) | The Oregonian/OregonLive

‘Benefit of the Doubt’: Evading Allegations of Educator Sexual Misconduct

About the Entry

After a lengthy solo battle to obtain Portland Public Schools’ records related to teacher discipline matters, reporter Bethany Barnes uncovers a paper trail of questionable actions by district administrators that allowed a troubled teacher to stay on the job despite multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.

Comments From the Judges

“Hundreds of girls in Portland were placed in danger for decades … because of a system set up to protect (one educator). The fight to shine the light on these records and this story should be required reading for education reporter.”

“Exceptional work, particularly for someone who was new to the beat and didn’t have years of sources to fall back on. (The series) shows, yet again, the power of strong local reporting to expose wrongs and hopefully demand better in the future.”