In Jennifer’s Room

This “graphic journalism” multimedia feature is part of a year-long, multi-platform investigation into the abuse of developmentally disabled residents in state-run institutions in California. The complete project reported by California Watch’s Ryan Gabrielson, called Broken Shield, found the state-run Office of Protective Services has displayed an alarming inability to solve crimes reported against severely disabled patients under their care and protection.

Two weeks after this multimedia feature and Gabrielson’s article were published, state regulators revoked the operating license of the Sonoma institution where Jennifer and other sexual abuse victims had been housed.

I directed, produced and edited “In Jennifer’s Room,” working closely with Gabrielson and illustrator Marina Luz. Read the full story by Ryan Gabrielson on California Watch.

“In Jennifer’s Room” won a national Emmy award for New Approaches to News & Documentary! It also won a Gracie Award — a contest for the best programming by, for, and about women — for Outstanding Online Investigative Feature. Along with another multimedia feature I produced (“Manner of Death: Undetermined”) it won a duPont Silver Baton, and was part of a Pulitzer-finalist package. It was selected as one of the best investigative features of 2012 by ProPublica’s Muckreads, and was highlighted by Poynter as an example of a creative way to tell a difficult story. “In Jennifer’s Room” was initially distributed online via The I Files, an investigative YouTube channel curated by CIR; from YouTube it spread to other publications, including The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Cartoon Movement.

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