CategorySolutions Journalism

Journalists Elana Gordon and Morgan Zalot speak on covering addiction-related issues

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Elana Gordon, public health reporter for WHYY The Pulse, and Morgan Zalot, formerly of NBC 10 and reporter for the station’s Generation Addicted piece, discussed the challenges of reporting on addiction as the last class speakers for the semester. Both Gordon and Zalot noted the necessity of adding context to sensitive circumstances, using their narratives to respect language associated...

Comparing Solutions Journalism from Traditional Journalism

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Though there are countless articles dedicated to covering addiction, there are clear distinctions between solutions journalism and traditional Journalism. “Espanola: The Town that Tried Everything to Fight Addiction” was written by Leah Todd in August 2016. It explores the lack of progress made towards preventing drug overdose in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico despite numerous effects to combat...

Covering chaos: Addiction coverage could focus more on solutions than statistics

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Having covered the college recruiting circuit in high school football before, I’m familiar with the growing narrative of injured players developing opioid addictions. The pressure is enormous, from peers, parents, coaches, and even school administrators, for players to get back on the field after suffering injuries in what is an inescapably violent sport. The destructive journey from...

Regular News vs. Solutions Reporting

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On January 18, 2017, The New York Times published a story headlined Injecting Drugs, Under a Watchful Eye. Journalist Tina Rosenberg reported on how needle exchange programs have been successful in preventing disease and increasing use of drug treatment by users. Rosenberg used statistics to compare the success rates of needle exchange programs throughout the 1990s in New York City, and how...

Addiction Reporting at The Atlantic Magazine

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In 2014,  Atlantic Magazine reporter Jake Flanagin wrote The Surprising Failures of 12 Steps. This article highlights how traditional 12 step programs have failed their members, but it also discusses why people still are drawn to these groups.  Flanigan mentions that 12 step programs have low success rates because members often relapse and leave the program. He also explains how the prevalence of...

Comparing news and solutions reporting

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Solutions:  News:  In an article that appeared on the NPR site titled “Why Not Start Addiction Treatment Right In The ER?” the story discusses the work of Dr. Gail D’Onofrio, chief of emergency medicine at Yale University’s medical school, and her colleagues. The team tested whether prescribing medicine to ease withdrawal symptoms and combining that with brief counseling...

Comparing news reporting with solutions reporting

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This drug can break opioid addiction. Why aren’t we using it?  This story by Mother Jones talked about the positive effects of buprenorphine — it’s more difficult to abuse than methadone and patients don’t typically need to go to the clinic everyday for a dosage. It also mentions the Office-Based Buprenorphine Induction clinic in San Francisco, which helps patients without...

Stories of tragedy or hope: comparing traditional addictions coverage with solutions reporting

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On Dec. 22, 2016, philly.com published a story headlined Main Line woman, 62, heroin addict, and not unique. It told the story of Lynne C. Twaddle, who developed an addiction to OxyContin after she had surgery on both her hips last year. When she was prescribed OxyContin for her pain, she was already a recovering alcoholic. According to the philly.com story, “And that, her attorney said...

Article Comparison: What is and isn’t Solutions Journalism?

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Both articles I have chosen to compare have been written three months apart. Both discuss addiction but in entirely different ways. “As Seattle eyes supervised drug-injection site, is Vancouver a good model?” by Seattle Times reporter JoNel Aleccia is solutions journalism. The reporter makes a point to discuss a supervised drug-injection site in Vancouver that has decreased. The...

Comparing Solutions Article To Traditional Journalism

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The people in this county realized they had a problem. And now they are looking for community solutions on how to fix this problem. They are doing so by holding town meetings once a week, educating people on the dangers of drug addiction and what parents can do to stop it. This is solutions journalism because it discusses a problem and then proposes a solution: visiting schools each week to talk...

Solutions Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism: What is the Best Method to Tell a Story?

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The differences between a solutions oriented story from a traditional news story is astounding. I read two articles about addiction, but the messages in each story were completely different. The authors took opposite routes to tell their stories, and I found the solutions story more compelling and uplifting. Here are descriptions of the stories: Is Addiction Just a Matter of Choice? – John...

Compare, Solutions-based Reporting or Not?

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Data? Experts? Varying perspectives? “Howdunnit?” These are some key factors we look for when investigating whether or not a story is solutions-oriented. A story can be informative and well-written but still lack a solutions angle, so it’s always important to be mindful of what makes a story solutions oriented. When Dylan McCoy of The Atlantic reported on a recovery high school...

Article Comparison

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Both The Atlantic and Salon have recently published pieces that address the growing trend of finding treatment from opioid addiction through use of other intoxicating substances. In one, marijuana is examined as a possible treatment, and in the other a holistic experience is shown to better the addicted mind. In The Atlantic, Sarah Zhang highlights Doctor Feeny’s reaction to the frequent refusal...

10 Ways to Incorporate Solutions into Addiction Reporting

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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...

10 Ways We Can Incorporate Solutions Into Our Addiction Reporting

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By talking to academic experts who are actively researching solutions looking to help people who have substance use disorders Like with the recent White House press release of its effort in changing the language of addiction, we could stress the use of more acceptable terminology in our reporting to drive home how public perception of addiction needs to change Make sure to link out to, or refer...