10 Ways to Incorporate Solutions into Addiction Reporting

1. Start Small. Research the problems with addiction in Philadelphia, and the innovators and organizations that are making a difference. Reach out to academics and scholars, as well as community resources to see where those struggling with addiction can go in this city.

2. Ask what others can learn from your subject. After finding the impactful characters for your story, don’t forget to ask how others can learn from them. How are they treating addiction differently? Where is there room for improvement in Philadelphia?

4. Don’t be afraid of the taboo. Addiction has long been a subject that gets pushed under the rug. Taking away excuses for inaction through solutions reporting will help to open up the conversation.

5. Make listeners feel powerful. Be inspiring. This is not a mandatory element of solutions reporting, however it is effective in engaging the audience with the characters of the story. The audience could well be those struggling with addiction or their families, find solutions that are empowering and impactful.

6. Don’t shy away from imperfection. In addiction, and all other problems, there is no golden ticket – no solution that will work every time. Acknowledge shortcomings, caveats and risks. This will help to humanize the story and make it relatable for the audience.

7. Be realistic. Addiction is an illness that can be treated. Avoid adjectives and hero characters. Limit yourself to telling the news. Don’t claim  your solution is the best one, that the problem is fixed or solution will last.

8. Use reliable data.  Which treatment center has the lowest relapse rate? In which state is relapse the lowest? Asking the write questions to look for data around the country will help to find the appropriate solution.

9. Find experiments in your city. Where are new addiction treatment programs being tested? What is their trajectory?

10. Examine the relationship of drug-trade the government. The Reagan administration started the war on drugs. The legacy is largely negative. Are there states where this has had a positive impact? What measures are local governments taking to impact their communities?

About the author

Brianna Spause

Brianna Spause is a senior studying journalism at Temple University, an Emmy award winner, Photo Editor of The Temple News, President of Aperture Photo Agency, Contributing Editor of JUMP Magazine, coffee lover, a distinctly bad dancer… the list goes on and on. Contact Brianna at tuf04572@temple.edu.

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By Brianna Spause