Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tracy Breton - Journal reporter wins award for series on elder abuse.

Journal reporter wins award for series on elder abuse
01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tracy Breton, a member of The Providence Journal’s investigative reporting team, has won a media award for regional/local reporting from The American Society on Aging.
The award, which was presented at the organization’s conference in Washington, D.C., Friday, is for a series of stories she wrote last year about elder abuse and exploitation.

She was recognized “for her incisive articles” about financial abuse perpetrated against two elderly women in New York City by a “helper” who is now serving a prison sentence, and about “the devastating –– and costly –– effects of a feud between two sisters over the care of their mother,” who suffers from dementia.

Breton wrote 25 stories about that family feud, which pitted the daughters of Laurette Borduas Eifrig, who now resides in assisted-living in Providence, against one another in a protracted court battle over who would have control over their mother’s finances and living situation.
Because the sisters couldn’t agree on what was best for their mother, Eifrig now has a court-appointed guardian who makes decisions for her. Her daughters’ legal battle has cost the mother about $200,000 in lawyers’ and guardian’s fees.

Breton, who has worked for The Journal for almost 35 years, wrote the stories as part of a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship. She specializes in writing about legal issues and legal affairs, and, in 1994, was part of a team of Journal reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for stories that exposed corruption in the Rhode Island court system and led to the resignation, indictment and conviction of the state’s chief justice and his top administrator.

In 1995, the New England Society of Newspaper Editors awarded Breton its Master Reporting Award –– given to one reporter a year on a large circulation newspaper for a career’s worth of work.

This year’s other recipients of the American Society on Aging Media Award include Wisconsin documentary producers Melissa Godoy and Eileen Littig; Alice Dembner, Boston Globe medical reporter; Warren Wolfe of the Star Tribune, in Minneapolis; and Lucette Lagnado of The Wall Street Journal.

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