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Cara Kelly


Cara Kelly is an investigative reporter and educator with 15+ years experience at some of the largest newspapers in the country. She spent nearly five years on USA Today’s investigations team, where she published more than a dozen front-page articles exposing institutional sexual abuse and harassment. Her investigation revealing a pipeline from fraudulent massage schools to the illicit sex trade and human trafficking sparked an investigation by the Department of Education in 2021. She also served as entertainment editor for the paper at the height of the Me Too movement, where she led a project surveying behind-the-camera workers to reveal the extent of sexual misconduct in Hollywood. The result – that 94% of respondents had experienced some type of misconduct –  made headlines in dozens of major media outlets.


Cara was previously a digital editor at The Washington Post and an inaugural member of the Emerging News Products team. Her work has been published in hundreds of newspapers across the country including the Arizona Republic, Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star and Cincinnati Enquirer.


She is an adjunct journalism professor at American University’s School of Communications. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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