This spring's edition of the Columbia Journalism Review examines some landmark stories that have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize over the last 100 years.
One story carries particular resonance for Oregonians: The work of Nigel Jaquiss in Willamette Week, exposing former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt for repeatedly raping a teenager.
Jaquiss' story, awarded the 2005 Pulitzer for investigative reporting, remains a singular achievement in Oregon journalism—one that changed the political landscape of the state and humbled many of its power brokers.
Goldschmidt's victim, Elizabeth Lynn Dunham, died in 2011. WW examined her life and how it was changed by Goldschmidt's abuse.
The latest CJR piece examines how Jaquiss broke the Goldschmidt story when other newspapers—including the state's powerful daily, The Oregonian—failed to pursue it.
Much of this history is well known to Portlanders, but for new arrivals, it may prove illuminating.
Hours after the alternative weekly ran its story, Goldschmidt gave The Oregonian an exclusive interview and provided his account of the sexual abuse. He told the paper the “affair” had lasted a year. He talked about his health and his worries about how the story would impact his family, friends, and political associates. There was very little mention of the victim.
The next day, The Oregonian’s problems continued. The paper was criticized for the story and its headline, which referred to the sexual abuse as an “affair.”
Staffers at The Oregonian expressed disappointment and concern that the paper didn’t do enough to hold Goldschmidt accountable when he made his confession. The paper would, however, later devote staff to look into the scandal.
Willamette Week devoted some of its coverage, meanwhile, to finding out why The Oregonian had missed the story amid evidence that it knew of the rumors.
“Newspapers exist for a lot of reasons,” Jaquiss says. “One of them is to hold powerful institutions and people accountable, and we felt The Oregonian was a powerful institution.”