Here's hope for a better world in 2013. It will arrive in many ways and one of them is from film. We all love success stories, and this is one of a sideways kind. Many of you probably remember the heartbreaking film I posted here "In Jennifer's Room". Although it reported a most heartbreaking tale, the world is now better for it. Okay, not just because of the film, but because of a concentrated effort of which the film was just part, but still, people are talking... I recently received this note from Robert Rosenthal of Center For Investigative Reporting:
As a result of CIR's reporting, especially the explosive story wereported last month (http://californiawatch.org/node/18695), we havejust learned that the Sonoma Developmental Center where that horrificcase occurred, has just lost its primary license to operate.We have also just reported that the OPS, the department's internalpolice force that routinely failed to protect patients from abuse, hasbeen placed under command of the California Highway Patrol.California Watch reported these developments today:http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/state-threatens-shut-down-disability-center-amid-patient-abuse-18747.Both of these stunning outcomes are testament to CIR's power to tellthis story in innovative ways and get it the attention it deserves -in print publications across the state, a riveting online video thathas spanned the internet, on KQED radio, through tweets, datagraphics, and directly to state officials who made yesterday'sdecision.With the impact and results it had (incouding Jerry Brown signing twopieces of related legislation) this is a key example of the kind of"journalism of action" we are practicing and honing. This is a worldwhere there is a connection between the articulating of a problemthrough deep investigative reporting and the resolution of thatproblem.CIR was keeping the pressure on, planning a town hall meeting inSonoma next month to ensure that issues at the Sonoma DevelopmentalCenter remained in the public eye. Yesterday's announcement does notchange our concern for the welfare of patients in Sonoma or atCalifornia's other four developmental care facilities who have facedsimilar abuses and lack of oversight. We are re-evaluating the beston-the-ground strategy in Sonoma and in other communities to engageofficials and affected families.I will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this story. Wehope you are as proud as we are and that, together, we did change theworld for the better for these most vulnerable among us.
Great kudos go to reporter Ryan Gabrielson and all our dedicated staff at CIR.