"Trip Into Darkness" - Betty Wells - Wichita Eagle and Wichita Beacon

Reportage

Description

Wells had herself admitted to Larned State Hospital in Larned, Kansas, for an investigation of the Kansas mental health system. She stayed eight days and produced this February 1974 series for the Wichita Eagle and the Wichita Beacon.
(Special thanks to Prof. Dan Close at Wichita State University for helping to unearth and then retrieve these pieces from the Eagle microfilm.)

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Newspaper

Effects and Outcomes

The series sparked Kansas legislative and internal hospital investigations at Larned and won press awards from the Inland Press Association, Sigma Delta Chi, and an honorable mention from the Robert F. Kennedy. Journalism Awards in 1975.

The Inland citation read:

"1974 Local Government News Contest Awards go to 34 Inland Members in 12 states, 1 Providence, "First Place: Betty Wells, Wichita (KS) Eagle & Beacon: "Betty Wells managed to get herself committed to a state mental hospital.

"While there she investigated and reported on conditions within the
Institution – a difficult and disagreeable subject, one reported on all too
infrequently by the news media since the snake-pit exposes of the immediate Post World War II period. Her series produced a strong reaction in the Kansas Legislature and put the need for mental care on the public agenda in that state."

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