Citizen feature wins Joan Gullen Award for Media Excellence

Bruce Deachman, The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Citizen reporter Blair Crawford has earned the Joan Gullen Award for Media Excellence for his feature The Wanderers, which examined issues surrounding people who, because of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, wander from their caregivers. In the feature, which appeared in the Citizen last March, Crawford carefully explained the stress and worry faced by people whose loved ones have wandered, and showed how perilous the problem can be for all involved. The story was nominated for the award by members of the Eastern branch of the Ontario Association of Social Workers and unanimously chosen by a panel of reviewers.

“This series of articles,” noted one reviewer, “provides a deep and captivating glimpse into an under-reported issue. I think, across the series, the author was able to capture various perspectives related to what could be done to minimize the chances of wandering (i.e. Smarter houses, redesigning homes and new programs designed to help find seniors), but also was able to capture the real-life impacts of families and individuals affected by Alzheimer’s directly. It culminated in a bit of a grim reminder that the statistics are daunting, and no cure has been found.”

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