Sonia Deza poses for a photograph at her home in Antioch, Calif. on Friday, March 1, 2018. Deza worked for years as a caregiver where she earned $2 dollars an hour from Publico. Credit: Photo by James Tensuan for Reveal / Illustration by Michael I Schiller

Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX has been honored with a 2020 Gracie Award in the National Radio Investigative Feature category for its hour-long audio documentary, The Unpaid Cost of Elder Care.  

Led by reporter Jennifer Gollan, data reporter Melissa Lewis, producer Anayansi Diaz-Cortes and edited by Jen Chien and Kevin Sullivan, the investigation is a ground-breaking expose that documents how the senior care home industry exploits a largely female, immigrant workforce through widespread wage theft, harassment and intimidation. 

The Gracie Awards are presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, which recognize exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. This is the second consecutive year Reveal has been honored with a Gracie.

As part of the project, Reveal published a four-part series, edited by Narda Zacchino, that was distributed via The Associated Press in more than 200 media outlets across the country, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. Reveal’s Rachel de Leon also produced a special television report for PBS NewsHour, titled “Why Some Residential Caregivers Call Their Jobs Indentured Servitude.” 

The series looked into America’s growing business of assisted living facilities, or residential care homes, which serve as an alternative to more costly nursing homes. Reveal showed how operators enriched themselves while underpaying their workers. The investigation prompted tougher enforcement, an upcoming congressional hearing and new state legislation.

In the radio program, Reveal examined caregivers in small residential care homes who are overworked and underpaid. Reveal found at least 1,400 cases nationwide in which operators broke minimum wage and other labor laws, in some cases effectively paying caregivers as little as $2 an hour to work around the clock.

A full list of 2020 winners is available on the Gracie Award website.