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Originally Published: February 25, 2013

Releases major investigative report On New York State’s Failure To Provide Oversight on nursing homes’ use of chemical restraints on older New Yorkers

First significant site redesign in 14 years for Citizens Union Foundation’s pioneering watchdog publication

NEW YORK – Gotham Gazette, the award-winning online publication of Citizens Union Foundation unveiled its reimagined website this morning, combining coverage of city and state government with new interactive reader features to encourage civic engagement among New Yorkers. Gotham Gazette recently shifted from an online daily news site to a frequently-published platform for accountability and investigative public interest journalism. It will focus on bringing New Yorkers illuminating analyses on policy, long-form interviews with thought leaders, and underreported stories about the actions of government and government officials.

As part of the Gotham Gazette’s new editorial focus, the first story is an investigative report by science and education journalist Elbert Chu. How NYC Nursing Homes Drug Seniors into Submission reveals a startling lack of New York State government oversight of the high rates of nursing homes treating clients with chemical restraints (such as antipsychotic drugs) to control behavior, even in cases where they may not be necessary. Given a lack of oversight and clear guidelines from the state’s Department of Mental Health and the New York State Office of Long Term Care Ombudsman, the report finds that many New York nursing homes dangerously rely on anti-psychotic drugs without the proper training and awareness of how to properly deploy anti-psychotics as appropriate interventions. In one instance, the report found, half of the residents at the University Nursing Home in the Bronx were taking antipsychotic drugs, including nine percent of new residents—a rate that is three times higher than the national average.

“Our new Gotham Gazette reflects Citizens Union Foundation’s continued commitment to providing New Yorkers with thoughtful and well-researched investigative journalism about city and state government actions and coverage of local campaigns and elections.  But now we will also provide our readers with new social media tools to contribute meaningfully to the conversation,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union Foundation, the publisher of Gotham Gazette. “We intend for Gotham Gazette to continue Citizens Union Foundation’s long tradition of holding power accountable and educating the public so that they may have the tools to fully participate in our democracy.”

Gotham Gazette’s expansion includes the addition of a dedicated City Hall reporter, Chester Soria, to the publication, joining Executive Editor Cristian Salazar, State News Editor David Howard King, Technical Manager/Web Producer JaVon Rice, and the Gazette’s team of freelancers and contributors. Prior to joining Gotham Gazette, Soria previously covered politics for The Empire, a WNYC blog, and contributed to The Local, a hyperlocal New York Times blog covering Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Gotham Gazette will soon announce a new pool of contributing editors that includes veteran journalists and subject experts to help guide the publication’s coverage and editorial direction.

“One of the major goals in reimagining the role that Gotham Gazette plays in the public discourse of New York was to develop a site with design and content that resonates with the very people in New York that policy and politics affect the most—the public at large,” said Cristian Salazar, executive editor of Gotham Gazette.

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