Journalists visit class to speak about reporting on addiction

For our class’s final installment of visiting speakers, former NBC10 reporter Morgan Zalot and WHYY’s Elena Gordon visited to discuss their experience as reporters covering addiction.

Going into this class, I was mainly looking forward to hearing Zalot’s stories about reporting for the NBC10 series “Generation Addicted.” Our class discussed the series’ use of one of the featured people injecting heroin on camera. Zalot said using that image was debated amongst the team while they put the package together, but they decided to do it because they wanted to fully illustrate the problem for the public. I still don’t know if I agree with this sentiment. Images like this have been played out in the media continuously, and I don’t think that another one is needed. I think humanizing subjects through other stories and images — like when “Generation Addicted” visits people’s houses and features family members talking about struggling with addiction — is a more effective way to illustrate the effect addiction can have.

Thinking and discussing questions like this is becoming increasingly relevant for our class as the project deadline approaches. For example, in our last class, we looked at a picture someone had taken in Kensington of someone using and discussed whether it should be included. Ultimately, we decided we didn’t want to use it because it was perpetuating that stigma. This idea will continue to be important to

About the author

Grace Shallow

Grace Shallow is a sophomore journalism student at Temple University in Philadelphia. On paper, she is the deputy features editor for The Temple News, an intern for WHYY’s PlanPhilly and a contributor for the Spirit News with previous work at her hometown’s paper, Cinn City News. Contact Grace at

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