Comparing news and solutions reporting

Two stories, one subject and very different goals.

There is a distinct difference between the approach to covering Addiction in traditional news and solutions journalism formats. Take for example, the coverage of a large confiscation and subsequent arrest by the Philadelphia Police Department as told by Philly.com on Feb. 2. In “Officials announce near-record drug bust” the story immediately starts out by naming the suspects that were found to be involved in a large drug trade, and painting the picture of their lives to be spent in prison. This is a solely informational piece which outlines how long the trade investigation went on and where it took place. There is a short quote at the end by District Attorney Seth Williams encouraging families of those with a Heroin addiction to seek treatment. This story is definitely necessary – it is important to inform the public of police dealings, and their view of this drug bust as a victory for Philadelphia. The use of a mugshot as the only photo with the piece and an assumed knowledge of the use of mentioned drugs is standard hard news practice.

In “The Options and Obstacles to Treating Heroin Addiction” published by PBS last year on Feb. 26, 2015 exemplifies the solutions approach. The author assumed the same responsibility as Philly.com did by starting out addressing issue at hand – the rise of heroin addiction in New York versus a large drug bust. What followed in the article however is an outline of treatments and studies to examine their efficiency throughout the US. This approach offers options for the audience who may be reading to do research for themselves, a friend or a family member, and also clearly outlines the reality of drug use in America, not only in New York. This approach not only shows the scope of the problem, but also could be effective in allowing the effected reader not to feel alone.

Both of these stories are important, and done well. They just take different approaches to the same problem. I am interested in doing more research about effective ways to stop the drug trade at it’s dealing stages that has been outlined in the first article.

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