For more detailed information on some incidents, the AJC reviewed dozens of civil lawsuits and criminal case files, and reporters spent hours in court observing criminal proceedings. Reporters also interviewed dozens of family members, home operators, trade organizations and experts.
» LISTEN BELOW: Carrie Teegardin discusses the "Unprotected" series on GPB's "On Second Thought"
The AJC's project began more than two years ago when AJC reporter Carrie Teegardin began looking into questionable bond deals that had financed senior care facilities in Georgia. That investigation raised questions about the quality of care and adequacy of oversight for the entire private-pay senior care system in Georgia. Teegardin and her editor, Lois Norder, began exploring how the newspaper could study the industry and provide the public with facility-specific records to help families make informed decisions about care for their loved ones.
Early this year, after Teegardin and Norder had obtained thousands of documents, the AJC began building a project team. AJC data specialist Nick Thieme was brought in to convert the documents into datasets and help to analyze information. Reporter Brad Schrade joined the team to help research issues, interview residents and their families and seek out others knowledgeable about concerns. Data journalist Emily Merwin DiRico joined to help create a website to provide consumers with information on the homes that was not easily available from the state. Another data specialist, Jennifer Peebles, helped with data analysis and communications with the facilities; she was joined by data intern Anila Yoganathan. Other key members include Pete Corson, who worked on visual presentations; photographers Hyosub Shin and Bob Andres and videographer Ryon Horne; copy editors Cameron Tankersley and Liam Miller; and print page designer Mike Perkins.