http://californiawatch.org/newsroom en Broken Shield series wins two IRE awards http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/broken-shield-series-wins-two-ire-awards-18851 <p class="image-insert" style="width: 300px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert/IRE-award.png" title="" /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Investigative Reporters and Editors</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> </span></p> <p>The Center for Investigative Reporting&rsquo;s California Watch today scored two top national awards from <a href="http://ire.org/awards/ire-awards/winners/2012-ire-award-winners/" target="_blank">Investigative Reporters and Editors</a> for a series that exposed shoddy practices by an internal police force patrolling California&rsquo;s developmental centers for the disabled.</p> <p>The series, <a href="http://californiawatch.org/broken-shield" target="_blank">Broken Shield</a>, won the IRE Award for best multiplatform investigative reporting in the medium-size category. The series also won the Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism &ndash; the only IRE award that comes with a significant cash prize. The Gannett Award is open to news organizations of any size.</p> <p>It was the second consecutive year that California Watch has won the Gannett Award, making it the first news organization to have won the award twice.</p> <p>The series is noteworthy because CIR and California Watch produced it for newspapers, broadcast TV stations, public radio stations and an online audience. California Watch also held public forums and distributed postcards summarizing the story to residents near some of the state&rsquo;s developmental centers.</p> <p>&ldquo;This day is doubly sweet for us,&rdquo; said CIR Editorial Director Mark Katches. &ldquo;Winning these two awards from IRE means a lot to our newsroom because we are being honored by our peers for work in text, video, multimedia and radio, in addition to being honored for our innovative approach to storytelling.&rdquo;</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>Broken Shield already has won a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/cir-s-california-watch-wins-polk-award-second-straight-year-18812" target="_blank">George Polk Award</a> for state reporting and an <a href="http://journalists.org/2012/09/24/2012-online-journalism-award-winners-announced/" target="_blank">Online Journalism Award</a> from the Online News Association for investigative journalism. Reporter Ryan Gabrielson, who wrote the series, also won the <a href="http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/gabrielson-wins-top-honor-police-reporting-18829" target="_blank">Al Nakkula Award</a>, which recognizes the top police reporting in the country.</p> <p>It will be a whirlwind week for Gabrielson, who will be in New York to accept the Polk Award on Thursday. He will then fly to Colorado to pick up the Nakkula Award on Friday. And later this week, he will be a featured speaker at the 7th annual Reva &amp; David Logan Investigative Reporting Symposium at UC Berkeley. The IRE awards will be presented at a banquet in San Antonio in June, coinciding with the organization&rsquo;s annual training conference.</p> <p>Broken Shield was an 18-month investigation that uncovered systemic failures at the Office of Protective Services and prompted a criminal investigation, two new laws, staff retraining, policy changes and a management shake-up.</p> <p>A third bill was introduced when the state Legislature returned to work earlier this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;The series has had a tremendous impact, in no small part because we distributed the stories on all platforms, helping us to reach a larger audience,&rdquo; said CIR Executive Director Robert J. Rosenthal.</p> <p>Broken Shield detailed widespread abuses inside the state&rsquo;s five developmental centers. Gabrielson found that the police force charged with protecting some of the state&rsquo;s most vulnerable wards almost never gets to the bottom of the abuses. Officers and investigators routinely wait too long to start investigations and fail to collect evidence.</p> <p>Gabrielson found that <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/police-ignored-mishandled-sex-assaults-reported-disabled-18683" target="_blank">36 documented rapes had occurred</a> at these state facilities in recent years, but the Office of Protective Services didn&rsquo;t order a single &ldquo;rape kit&rdquo; examination &ndash; a standard law enforcement investigatory tool.</p> <p>Last year, California Watch also won two IRE awards, including an IRE Medal and the Gannett Award, for its <a href="http://californiawatch.org//earthquakes" target="_blank">On Shaky Ground</a> series.</p> <p>Besides the Gannett Award, no IRE award category comes with more than a $500 cash prize. Most of the award categories have no cash prizes.</p> <p>The Center for Investigative Reporting plans to use the $5,000 cash prize for the Gannett Award to help send staffers to the annual IRE conference for training.</p> <p>In addition to Gabrielson, contributors to the Broken Shield series who are named on the award are: Agustin Armendariz, Monica Lam, Michael Montgomery, Carrie Ching, Joanna Lin, Emily Hartley, Marie McIntosh, Nikki Frick, Christine Lee, Meghann Farnsworth, Cole Goins, Mia Zuckerkandel, La Toya Tooles, Robert Salladay, Mark Katches, Lauren Rabaino, Marina Luz and Brian Cragin.</p> <p>In addition to the two awards for Broken Shield, <a href="http://baycitizen.org" target="_blank">The Bay Citizen</a>, California Watch&#39;s sister site, was named a finalist in the multiplatform category for small news organizations for detailing the plight of <a href="http://cironline.org/projects/returning-home-battle" target="_blank">veterans who face long waits for disability benefits</a>. The series was written and reported by Aaron Glantz. It was edited by Amy Pyle and Peter Lewis. Other staffers and contributors named on the award are Shane Shifflett, David Suriano, Brian Cragin and Lonny Shavelson.</p> Public Safety Newsroom Broken Shield Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:17:34 +0000 California Watch 18851 at http://californiawatch.org Gabrielson wins top honor for police reporting http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/gabrielson-wins-top-honor-police-reporting-18829 <p>Reporter Ryan Gabrielson has won a national award for excellence in police reporting for exposing the shoddy practices of an internal police force patrolling California&rsquo;s developmental centers for the disabled.</p> <p>Gabrielson, who covers law and order for California Watch and its parent organization, the <a href="http://www.cironline.org" target="_blank">Center for Investigative Reporting</a>, won the 2013 Al Nakkula Award, named after a former Rocky Mountain (Colo.) News police reporter known for his dogged journalism. The award is presented by the University of Colorado, Boulder and the Denver Press Club.</p> <p>Gabrielson won for his series <a href="http://californiawatch.org/broken-shield" target="_blank">Broken Shield</a>, an 18-month investigation that uncovered systemic failures at the Office of Protective Services and prompted a criminal investigation, two new laws, staff retraining, policy changes and a management shake-up. A third bill was introduced last month.</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>He detailed widespread abuses inside the state&rsquo;s five developmental centers. He also found that the police force charged with protecting some of the state&rsquo;s most vulnerable wards almost never gets to the bottom of the abuses. Officers and investigators routinely wait too long to start investigations and fail to collect evidence. Gabrielson found that 36 documented rapes had occurred at these state facilities in recent years, but the Office of Protective Services didn&rsquo;t order a single &ldquo;rape kit&rdquo; examination &ndash; a standard law enforcement investigatory tool.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is a tremendous recognition of Ryan&rsquo;s outstanding work,&rdquo; said Mark Katches, the Center for Investigative Reporting&rsquo;s editorial director. &ldquo;The Nakkula award honors the very best reporting in the nation focused on law enforcement.&rdquo;</p> <p>Broken Shield has already been honored this year with the <a href="http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/cir-s-california-watch-wins-polk-award-second-straight-year-18812" target="_blank">2013 George Polk Award</a> for state reporting. The first three installments of the eventual five-part series also won an Online News Association award for best investigative reporting in September.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This project had excellent reporting, clear and emotional writing and a definite positive impact,&rdquo; on public policy, said contest judge Sandy Graham.</p> <p>Added judge Kevin Flynn: &ldquo;It was an exhaustive and thorough investigation.&rdquo;</p> <p>Until now, the award has been given only to a newspaper reporter.</p> <p>Online investigative organizations like the Center for Investigative Reporting&rsquo;s California Watch &ldquo;are a very important trend as traditional newspapers cut back on staff&rdquo; and seek collaborators, contest judge Tustin Amole noted.</p> <p>Graham, Amole and Flynn are all former colleagues of Nakkula.</p> <p>Gabrielson will receive a $2,000 prize. Second place in the contest went to Peter Dujardin, a reporter at the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., for his series &ldquo;Selling Smoke,&rdquo; about a 19-month, $4 million police sting that failed to generate a single arrest.</p> Public Safety Newsroom Broken Shield Tue, 12 Mar 2013 15:05:37 +0000 California Watch 18829 at http://californiawatch.org CIR’s California Watch wins Polk award for second straight year http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/cir-s-california-watch-wins-polk-award-second-straight-year-18812 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/mark-katches" title="View user profile." class="fn">Mark Katches</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p>We are proud to write today that the <a href="http://www.cironline.org" target="_blank">Center for Investigative Reporting</a>&rsquo;s California Watch has won the George Polk Award for our series exposing flaws in the way a special state police force handles crimes against the developmentally disabled.</p> <p>It is the second consecutive year that California Watch has won the <a href="http://www.liu.edu/polk" target="_blank">prestigious George Polk Award</a>. This year, we are being honored in the category of state reporting for Ryan Gabrielson&rsquo;s extraordinary series &ldquo;<a href="http://californiawatch.org/broken-shield" target="_blank">Broken Shield</a>.&rdquo;</p> <div id="caw-inset-1-placeholder">&nbsp;</div> <p>The series has prompted far-reaching change, including a criminal investigation, staff retraining and new laws &ndash; all intended to bring greater safeguards and accountability.</p> <p>Gabrielson was one of 14 Polk award winners announced today by Long Island University, which administers the prizes. University officials said more than 700 stories were submitted to the judges. Other winners include The New York Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bloomberg News, CBS News, The Washington Post and Mother Jones.</p> <p>The Polk award is named after a CBS newsman murdered while covering the Greek Civil War in 1948.</p> <p>Gabrielson&rsquo;s 18-month investigation about the Office of Protective Services snowballed over the course of 2012 &ndash; resulting in five major installments from February to November. The police force was set up specifically to protect the developmentally disabled living in the state&rsquo;s five remaining board-and-care centers. But Gabrielson found that the department&rsquo;s officers and detectives often failed to secure crime scenes and routinely delayed interviews with key witnesses and suspects &ndash; leading to an alarming inability to solve crimes.</p> <p>Gabrielson detailed that <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/police-ignored-mishandled-sex-assaults-reported-disabled-18683" target="_blank">dozens of women were sexually assaulted</a> inside state centers, but police investigators didn&rsquo;t order&nbsp;&ldquo;rape kits&rdquo;&nbsp;to collect evidence, a standard law enforcement tool. Police waited so long to investigate one sexual assault that the staff janitor accused of rape fled the country. The police force&rsquo;s inaction also allowed abusive caregivers to continue molesting patients &ndash; even after the department had evidence that could have stopped future assaults.</p> <p>In one egregious physical abuse case, a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/questions-surround-handling-taser-assaults-disabled-patients-17345" target="_blank">caregiver was suspected of using a Taser</a> to inflict burns on a dozen patients. Yet the internal police force waited at least nine days to interview the caregiver, who was never arrested or charged with abuse. The vast majority of the Taser victims are so disabled they cannot utter a word.</p> <p>Gabrielson gave them a resounding voice.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is the type of reporting that ends up actually saving lives,&rdquo; wrote Patricia L. McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, in thanking Gabrielson and California Watch.</p> <p>The winners of the Polk award will be honored at a luncheon in New York in April.</p> <p>Gabrielson was the reporter for the series. Several staffers in the newsroom contributed to the project &ndash; most notably Agustin Armendariz, who provided data analysis; Carrie Ching, who produced two <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/video-jennifers-room-18695" target="_blank">videos</a> for the series; Monica Lam, who produced a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/unexplained-deaths-behind-closed-doors-14987" target="_blank">broadcast video</a> distributed to TV partners; and Robert Salladay, who edited the project.</p> <p>Last year, California Watch won a George Polk Award for uncovering a pattern inside a <a href="http://californiawatch.org/prime" target="_blank">fast-growing hospital chain</a> that had repeatedly billed Medicare for rare ailments that generate lucrative bonus payments to the chain.</p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-explore"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dailyreport/california-watch-decoding-prime-series-honored-polk-award-14956">California Watch &#039;Decoding Prime&#039; series honored with Polk award</a> </div> </div> </div> Public Safety Newsroom Department of Developmental Services developmentally disabled Office of Protective Services patient abuse Broken Shield Mon, 18 Feb 2013 08:05:02 +0000 Mark Katches 18812 at http://californiawatch.org What’s your ideal future for the Sonoma Developmental Center? http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/what-s-your-ideal-future-sonoma-developmental-center-18803 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/marie-mcintosh" title="View user profile." class="fn">Marie McIntosh</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p>At a Jan. 30 <a href="http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/sonoma-disability-center-staff-weighs-abuse-claims-18799">community forum</a> on the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center, a few themes consistently surfaced in the conversation with residents, families and workers at the board-and-care facility for the developmentally disabled. The Sonoma center has come under fire after an <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/police-ignored-mishandled-sex-assaults-reported-disabled-18683">investigation</a> by California Watch revealed abuse of patients and inept investigations by the Office of Protective Services, the state-run police force that operates at the center.</p> <p>Our staff gathered more than 50 questions and many pages of notes from the event, which was sponsored by California Watch and the Sonoma Index-Tribune, and we wanted to share them here in an effort to keep the conversation going.</p> <p>One of the issues addressed most frequently was how taxpayer money is spent within the Sonoma center and the state Department of Developmental Services at large. Some of the key questions asked by attendees: Is the money being spent properly? Are patients getting enough care? Are staffing levels adequate? One participant had this to offer:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;The SDC property is overkill for a population of 500 patients. Instead of waiting years (for the relocation of existing patients) why can&#39;t they relocate to a smaller, more modern and efficient facility?&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>The idea of consolidating California&rsquo;s developmental centers was popular among attendees. One participant suggested opening the center to an older population, which could potentially solve two issues at once &ndash; the care of the state&#39;s severely disabled and the elderly.</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;SDC needs to open up to seniors instead of overfilling rest homes. The elderly would receive much better care.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Concerns about the administrative structure of the center were voiced as well. Attendees cited low transparency with the center&rsquo;s data gathering and decision-making, making it difficult to hold officials accountable. A significant concern of Sonoma center staff members and families of patients was the lack of a &ldquo;Plan B&rdquo; &ndash; what happens if (or when) the Sonoma Developmental Center closes:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;We need to change the internal structure of how to do business &shy;&shy;&ndash; we need a Plan B. SDC operates as a place for those who don&#39;t make it in the community. If that&#39;s not there, where do people go if court-ordered?&quot;</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p>&quot;I work with clients with severe aggression, property destruction, etc. Several have been in jail before. Where will they go without (developmental centers)?&quot;</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p>&quot;Does the issue of OPS investigations (or lack) create a reason to close SDC? Are these two conversations related?&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>With all those points in mind, now&#39;s your chance to weigh in. What&rsquo;s your ideal future for the Sonoma Developmental Center? What can be done to achieve that future, and what are the potential roadblocks? Share your thoughts in the comments or feel free to send me an email at &#109;&#109;&#99;&#105;&#110;&#116;&#111;&#115;&#104;&#64;&#98;&#97;&#121;&#99;&#105;&#116;&#105;&#122;&#101;&#110;&#46;&#111;&#114;&#103;&#46;</p> Health and Welfare Newsroom patient abuse patient care Sonoma Developmental Center Broken Shield Wed, 06 Feb 2013 14:05:03 +0000 Marie McIntosh 18803 at http://californiawatch.org National Green Week makes a splash on The I Files http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/national-green-week-makes-splash-i-files-18800 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/julia-chan" title="View user profile." class="fn">Julia B. Chan</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p>National Green Week is upon us, offering an opportunity to explore the ways we can make our communities more environmentally friendly and sustainable. With that in mind, we&#39;re <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?feature=edit_ok&amp;list=PLDurT10mnRdCR6rTOS9dwa0V5X1PnJwCJ" target="_blank">featuring some great green-themed videos</a> on The I Files, an investigative YouTube channel curated by our parent organization, the Center for Investigative Reporting.</p> <p>One of the videos we&rsquo;re highlighting is &ldquo;Heat and Harvest,&rdquo; a half-hour documentary produced by KQED and CIR that focuses on the environmental challenges California&rsquo;s agriculture industry faces.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1Rg_63PGakk" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>The film takes a look at the state&#39;s farm belt, an area long known as &quot;the nation&#39;s salad bowl,&quot; and the impact threats such as rising temperatures, shrinking water supplies and abundant pests have on a $30 billion dollar industry and, ultimately, our wallets. Exploring possible solutions, &quot;Heat and Harvest&quot; helps to explain the nuanced effects of climate change and some of the efforts to solve these problems.</p> <p>For CIR reporter Mark Schapiro, the answer lies in reducing carbon footprints. But he also <a href="http://science.kqed.org/quest/audio/heat-and-harvest/" target="_blank">cites</a> scientists who are developing new types of crops that can withstand the new stresses that changing weather conditions present.</p> <p>&quot;But these solutions won&#39;t come cheap,&quot; says Craig Miller, KQED Climate Watch&#39;s senior editor. &quot;Every option comes with a price tag, and sooner or later, that could mean higher prices at the supermarket.&quot;</p> <p>For tips on making your diet more earth-friendly and other sustainable eating habits, see CIR&#39;s series &quot;<a href="http://cironline.org/projects/food-for-9-billion" target="_blank">Food for 9 Billion</a>.&quot; Or if you have your own suggestions for how your community could be more green, check out <a href="https://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/pulse-of-the-bay/how-is-your-community-going-green-2/" target="_blank">this post</a> from The Bay Citizen&rsquo;s Marie McIntosh.</p> <p>Make sure you don&#39;t miss out on a single investigation: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdmqkUIfXt2cMBOLQsijMFg?sub_confirmation=1" target="_blank">Subscribe to The I Files</a> today.&nbsp;</p> Health and Welfare Environment Newsroom agriculture carbon footprint climate change environmental health food Mon, 04 Feb 2013 17:05:02 +0000 Julia Chan 18800 at http://californiawatch.org Public forum: What’s the future of Sonoma’s developmental center? http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/public-forum-what-s-future-sonoma-s-developmental-center-18790 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/marie-mcintosh" title="View user profile." class="fn">Marie McIntosh</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p>California Watch is inviting the public to share its thoughts, insights and experiences about the troubled Sonoma Developmental Center, the state&rsquo;s largest board-and-care facility for the severely disabled.</p> <p>Few people in California are more vulnerable than the patients at the Sonoma center. The people who live there suffer from cerebral palsy, severe autism, and other&nbsp;mental, intellectual&nbsp;and physical disabilities. Many have no family to take care of them.</p> <p>For more than a year, California Watch reporter Ryan Gabrielson has been investigating the Sonoma facility. The stories have revealed widespread problems with the center&rsquo;s treatment of patients by staff members and a little-known state police force charged with investigating crimes at the facility. Patients at one unit in Sonoma suffered clear evidence of sexual assault, but their cases were never properly investigated.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/state-disability-center-forfeits-funding-over-abuse-18789" target="_blank">Now</a>, the Sonoma facility is facing severe sanctions and possible closure of its largest housing units. The center employs&nbsp;more than 1,000 people from the region.</p> <p>What does this&nbsp;new&nbsp;development&nbsp;mean for the city of Sonoma, the developmental&nbsp;center and its patients,&nbsp;and the people who live&nbsp;in surrounding&nbsp;communities?</p> <p>We invite you to a forum that will feature a panel discussion with community members and experts. The panel will be moderated by Phil Bronstein, the executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting, the parent organization of California Watch. Gabrielson will also outline his stories and answer questions.</p> <p>Please come and share your thoughts, insights, experiences and questions with the community. Learn more about the entire investigation <a href="http://californiawatch.org/broken-shield" target="_blank">here</a>, and read about <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/police-ignored-mishandled-sex-assaults-reported-disabled-18683" target="_blank">what happened in Sonoma</a> on our website.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Details</strong></p> <p><a href="http://calwatchsonoma.eventbrite.com/#" target="_blank">RSVP on Eventbrite</a></p> <p>When: Jan. 30</p> <p>Time: 6-8 p.m.</p> <p>Where: Ramekins:&nbsp;450 W. Spain St.,&nbsp;Sonoma</p> <p>*This event is free, but space is limited and registration is&nbsp;required.&nbsp;It&nbsp;is part of California Watch&#39;s&nbsp;<a _mce_href="http://californiawatch.org/futurestate" href="http://californiawatch.org/futurestate" target="_blank">Future State</a>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;a series of public events&nbsp;that aims&nbsp;to drive solutions-oriented dialogue based on fact and data on issues facing&nbsp;California&#39;s&nbsp;future.</p> Public Safety Newsroom Broken Shield Tue, 22 Jan 2013 14:05:03 +0000 Marie McIntosh 18790 at http://californiawatch.org Future State forum takes on California's political prospects http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/future-state-forum-takes-californias-political-prospects-18736 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/marie-mcintosh" title="View user profile." class="fn">Marie McIntosh</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last week, <a href="http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/pulse-of-the-bay/californias-current-state-affairs-join/" target="_blank">I asked readers</a> of <a href="http://baycitizen.org" target="_blank">The Bay Citizen</a>, California Watch&#39;s sister site, about the state of affairs in California. From spending cuts to a return to the core mission of our public education system, we examined some of the challenges, opportunities and action plans for California in a lively discussion on Facebook and The Bay Citizen&#39;s website. This provided us with some extra perspective going into our next <a href="http://patbrowndocumentary.com/futurestate/index.html" target="_blank">Future State</a> event, part of a series presented by California Watch. The series is meant to address the major challenges our state faces and its diverse residents.</p> <p>Conversations at the event, held Wednesday in Sacramento, centered on themes in &ldquo;<a href="http://patbrowndocumentary.com/home/index.html" target="_blank">California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown</a>,&rdquo; an award-winning documentary from filmmaker Sascha Rice, the former governor&#39;s granddaughter.</p> <p>During the day, we held a lunchtime discussion with Corey Cook, director of the University of San Francisco&#39;s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, and A.G. Block, associate director of the UC Center in Sacramento. Both work with college students on matters of politics and public policy and work to create dialogue with young people about issues that matter to them.</p> <p>The discussion focused on the level of political engagement today&#39;s generation of students has and how this could translate to social and political impact down the road. Confident that students &ldquo;will create the political dialogue for their own generation,&rdquo; Block was optimistic that today&#39;s students &ldquo;want something more; they want something more significant and want to make a greater impact.&rdquo;</p> <p>We got to see this optimism in action during the next part of the day, when we stopped by one of Rio Americano High School&#39;s Civitas classes. Civitas is a four-year program dedicated to teaching the next generation of leaders and enriching students with a sense of civic leadership and responsibility.&nbsp;</p> <p>The class had been watching &ldquo;California State of Mind&rdquo; as part of a classroom assignment and spoke to some of the problems they are seeing in their communities. Bipartisan leadership, affordable higher education and the equal distribution of state income among cities&nbsp;were all key issues to these young people.</p> <p>The film also had another interest for students &ndash; how pressure from family affects choices in life. One student asked filmmaker Rice how her family &ndash; including her uncle Gov. Jerry Brown and her mother, former State Treasurer Kathleen Brown &ndash; reacted to her decision not to pursue politics.</p> <p>&ldquo;Making this film was like making peace with my family,&rdquo; Rice said, identifying the documentary as her way of carrying on her grandfather&#39;s work.</p> <p>The final portion of the day was dedicated to a screening and panel discussion of the documentary itself. Led by CIR Executive Chair Phil Bronstein, the discussion ranged from the challenges California faces today to how Sacramento politics have changed since Pat Brown&rsquo;s tenure as governor.</p> <p>So now that we know some of the challenges we all face as Californians, what can we do to get our state back on track?</p> <p>Let us know what you think in the comments, or feel free to send me an email at &#109;&#109;&#99;&#105;&#110;&#116;&#111;&#115;&#104;&#64;&#99;&#105;&#114;&#111;&#110;&#108;&#105;&#110;&#101;&#46;&#111;&#114;&#103;&#46;</p> <p><em><strong>Clarification:</strong> This story has been updated to clarify key issues raised by students.</em></p> Newsroom Fri, 07 Dec 2012 22:05:03 +0000 Marie McIntosh 18736 at http://californiawatch.org We stand behind facts uncovered in our Prime Healthcare reporting http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/we-stand-behind-facts-uncovered-our-prime-healthcare-reporting-18728 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/mark-katches" title="View user profile." class="fn">Mark Katches</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p>California Watch has consistently stood behind its reporting on Prime Healthcare Services&rsquo; aggressive Medicare billing practices.</p> <p>And we continue to do so &ndash; even as our reporters have come under attack from the editor of the Redding Record Searchlight for our story about a local Prime hospital that claimed in Medicare billings that it was treating an outbreak of a nutritional disorder seen in developing countries called kwashiorkor.</p> <p><a href="http://www.redding.com/news/2012/dec/02/silas-lyons-journalists-should-correct-errors/" target="_blank">In a column Sunday</a>, the editor wrote that he decided not to publish California Watch&rsquo;s <a href="http://californiawatch.org/health-and-welfare/prime-hospital-bills-malnutrition-patient-says-she-wasn-t-treated-14055" target="_blank">Dec. 16, 2011, report</a>&nbsp;after meeting with Prime officials to review the confidential medical records of a patient who was interviewed for the story. The state health department recently fined Prime $95,000 for violating patient confidentiality laws by publicizing the patient&rsquo;s records.</p> <p>In his column, the editor accused California Watch, a project of the <a href="http://cironline.org" target="_blank">Center for Investigative Reporting</a>,&nbsp;of ignoring &ldquo;contradicting facts&rdquo; and failing to correct errors in our report. But the column cited no errors, and the &ldquo;contradicting facts&rdquo; that he accused us of ignoring actually were addressed at length in the story.</p> <p>Because the Record Searchlight continues to feel the need to justify its decision not to publish an important local story by criticizing California Watch, we felt the need to respond in more detail regarding the handling of this story.</p> <p>Here are the facts:</p> <p>Kwashiorkor is a nutritional disorder that experts say typically afflicts children during famines in&nbsp;developing countries. In 2009 and 2010, Prime&rsquo;s Shasta Regional Medical Center billed Medicare for treating more than 1,000 cases of the ailment, a California Watch analysis shows. That&rsquo;s more than 70 times the statewide rate for general hospitals.</p> <p>Among the patients was the 64-year-old woman who was the subject of the Dec. 16 story. Records obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request show that Prime billed Medicare for treating the patient for kwashiorkor and received an additional payment of $6,700.</p> <p>In an interview, the patient, who we identified in our story as an on-the-record source, said she had never heard of kwashiorkor and was hospitalized and treated for kidney failure, not malnutrition. The patient was described as &ldquo;well nourished&rdquo; in her admitting documents and described herself as overweight. &nbsp;</p> <p>The patient requested her hospital records from Prime and allowed California Watch to review them.</p> <p>The records supported her account. On the eve of publication, Prime said it had additional documents &ndash; records that the patient said she had not been provided. Prime did not provide these records to California Watch, though it showed them to the Record Searchlight.</p> <p>The company maintained that these records showed that the patient had been diagnosed with protein malnutrition and had received a nutritional consultation. That justified a billing for kwashiorkor, Prime contended. Our story quoted Prime spokesman Edward Barrera on these points. We also published his letter on our website.</p> <p>But the story also noted that the patient denied receiving a nutritional consultation and insisted she had never been told she was malnourished. In addition, the story quoted experts who described kwashiorkor as a dangerous condition that requires urgent intervention to save the patient&rsquo;s life.</p> <p>Since publishing our story we have learned additional details about the patient&rsquo;s case that underscore the concerns our story raised regarding the accuracy of her diagnosis and of the billing Prime submitted to Medicare.</p> <p>For example, results from the patient&rsquo;s blood chemistry panel conflicted with a malnutrition diagnosis or could be explained by the fact that she happens to be diabetic. Both the American Hospital Association and Medicare itself have said that hospitals should not equate malnutrition with kwashiorkor on Medicare billings &ndash; even in cases in which a malnutrition diagnosis is justified.</p> <p>Our reporters spent a year on our investigation of Prime. California Watch&rsquo;s site&nbsp;<a href="http://californiawatch.org/prime " target="_blank">provides additional information</a> about Prime&rsquo;s billing practices and about how we reported the story.</p> <p>We continue to stand by our work.</p> <p><em>Mark Katches is the editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting.</em></p> Health and Welfare Newsroom Decoding Prime Tue, 04 Dec 2012 23:31:35 +0000 Mark Katches 18728 at http://californiawatch.org 'In Jennifer's Room' tells chilling story of abuse while protecting family's privacy http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/jennifers-room-tells-chilling-story-abuse-while-protecting-familys-privacy-18723 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/marie-mcintosh" title="View user profile." class="fn">Marie McIntosh</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>&ldquo;I feel bad for the people who have no one to fight for them. There are a lot of them; they don&#39;t have any family. I told them when we were (there), &#39;You know, I was a hands-on mom, and I fought you for my daughter&#39;s security, and I still wasn&#39;t able to protect her.&#39;&rdquo;</em></p> <p>These are the words of the mother of Jennifer, an intellectually disabled patient at the Sonoma Developmental Center. In 2006, Jennifer accused a caretaker of physical and sexual abuse. Little was done, and her case was shelved.</p> <p>Less than a year later, Jennifer&rsquo;s family discovered that she was pregnant. Records show that the staff at the Sonoma center ignored or overlooked her condition, even after she visited a gynecologist at the facility while several months pregnant.</p> <p>How could this have happened? Patients like Jennifer, who live at one of California&#39;s five board-and-care facilities for the disabled, have accused caretakers and other employees of rape and molestation 36 times since 2009. In that time, investigations have yielded just one arrest.</p> <p>Reporter Ryan Gabrielson&#39;s <a href="http://californiawatch.org/public-safety/police-ignored-mishandled-sex-assaults-reported-disabled-18683" target="_blank">latest investigation</a> revealed that the Office of Protective Services, the police force in charge of protecting this vulnerable population of 1,600 patients statewide, failed to order a single nurse-supervised rape examination for any of the alleged victims since 2009.</p> <p>Telling these kinds of stories is critical for raising awareness. But care must be taken to protect the victims, who have largely remained anonymous in this investigation to protect their privacy. This creates a unique challenge &ndash; how do we protect the identities of the victims and their families while ensuring that their words and experiences create maximum impact? The need to respect the family&#39;s privacy competes with the need to spread the information far and wide.</p> <p>Our solution? This graphic novel-style&nbsp;<a href="http://californiawatch.org/node/18695" target="_blank">video</a>, directed and produced by senior multimedia producer Carrie Ching. The illustrations mask the identity of the family, and a CIR staff member served as a voice actor for Jennifer&#39;s mother. The result is a chilling portrait of life in the Sonoma Developmental Center for one young woman and the struggles she and her family faced when confronted with the nightmare of rape.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="380" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/UCoE-DD42c8" width="640"></iframe></p> Public Safety Newsroom Broken Shield Fri, 30 Nov 2012 20:36:53 +0000 Marie McIntosh 18723 at http://californiawatch.org Future State series: 'I'm only as strong as the person next to me' http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/future-state-series-im-only-strong-person-next-me-18677 <div class="field field-type-userreference field-field-authors"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="author vcard"><a href="/user/marie-mcintosh" title="View user profile." class="fn">Marie McIntosh</a></span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Challenges accessing higher education, fear of debt, English as a second language &ndash; these are just some of the challenges we heard during our <a href="http://californiawatch.org/futurestate" target="_blank">Future State</a> series in Merced. On Nov. 8, a number of California Watch staffers traveled to Merced County in the Central Valley to hear directly from the community there about the challenges and opportunities of higher education and what role it will play in the future of the Golden State.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is just the first in our continuing Future State series (learn more about our upcoming event in Sacramento <a href="http://californiawatch.org/futurestate" target="_blank">here</a>). In Merced, we focused in on hearing from students at <a href="http://www.ucmerced.edu/" target="_blank">UC Merced</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.mccd.edu/" target="_blank">Merced College</a>.</p> <p>Here is just some of what was said from the day, directly from the students. Stay tuned for more as we follow up in Merced and the Central Valley.</p> <p>Have a topic or issue we should be following? Let us know in the comments below or use #FutureCA on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/californiawatch" target="_blank">Twitter</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="image-insert" style="width: 304px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert/photo (8).JPG" title="Jessie Johnson of Merced College" /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Marie McIntosh/California Watch</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> Jessie Johnson of Merced College&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&quot;A lot of people are socially unaware of what&#39;s going on. I believe I&#39;m only as strong as the person next to me, so if I learn something, I share it.&quot;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="image-insert" style="width: 304px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert/photo (9).JPG" title="Joaquin Alvarado, Blanca Soto and Damaris Rahey (right) at Merced College" /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Marie McIntosh/California Watch</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> Joaquin Alvarado, Blanca Soto and Damaris Rahey (right) at Merced College&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Damaris Rahey:<em> &quot;I immigrated here with family at 13. English (is) hard for me. We don&#39;t have the documents to do so much stuff. To get scholarships, get financial aid, internships, to get experience for my career and I can&#39;t do it. It&#39;s hard to imagine that there are so many students with those opportunities that just don&#39;t do it.&quot;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="image-insert" style="width: 304px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert/photo (7).JPG" title="Gabriela Vega of UC Merced" /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Meghann Farnsworth/California Watch</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> Gabriela Vega of UC Merced&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.333333969116211px; line-height: normal;"><em>&quot;I am the first and oldest to go to college. I kinda like the countryside. I was looking forward to an environment like this &ndash; to achieve in the same place and not (drop) out. Build a business and make it international, that&#39;s what I want to do. I&#39;m studying sociology and want to contribute to the community here</em>.</span><em>&quot;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="image-insert" style="width: 304px;"><img alt="" class="imagecache-image-insert" src="/files/imagecache/image-insert/photo (11).JPG" title="Celene Rodriguez (standing) of UC Merced" /> <span class="image-insert-photo-credit">Meghann Farnsworth/California Watch</span> <span class="image-insert-description"> Celene Rodriguez (standing) of UC Merced&nbsp;</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.333333969116211px; line-height: normal;">&quot;I&#39;m the only one who left home. My brother is in community college, my sister is at Cal State LA. In high school, they tell you it&#39;s better if you dorm in the school because you get the whole college experience. I didn&#39;t think I&#39;d get in (to UC Merced), but they accepted me.&quot;</span></em></p> Newsroom Mon, 19 Nov 2012 23:58:43 +0000 Marie McIntosh 18677 at http://californiawatch.org