Soaring heroin and opioid addiction rates have left journalists across the country looking for new ways to cover the crisis and make the statistics stick. On this episode, we talk to reporters at two papers who found innovative ways to humanize America’s heroin epidemic. Stephen Stirling of NJ Advance Media takes us on a tour of “Herointown,” the state’s fourth largest city. Then Pat Beall and Mike Stucka of the Palm Beach Post discuss how they identified and profiled all 216 heroin deaths that occurred in one county in one year.
Looking for links to the stories and resources we discussed on this week’s podcast? We’ve collected them for you.
- Read “Welcome to Herointown, New Jersey’s 4th-largest city” by Stephen Stirling of NJ Advance Media.
- Explore the Palm Beach Post’s series on heroin.
- Read more about the Palm Beach Post’s series, including what Poynter Institute faculty members have to say about the ethics of reporting on heroin.
- IRE members only: Download Pat Beall’s 2016 tipsheet “Behind the Gold Rush/addiction treatment fraud.”
- IRE members only: Listen to Stephen Stirling and Jacquee Petchel discuss addiction data: “Addicted: Revealing hidden communities using substance abuse data.”
Kara Tabor reported this story. Blake Nelson illustrates our episode artwork. Daniela Vidal is our host. IRE Web Editor Sarah Hutchins edits the podcast. We are recorded in the studios of KBIA at the University of Missouri.
A Simple Shroud (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0
Lights Out (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0
Black Ballots (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0
Janitor (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 4.0
Death Valley Phone Booth (Blue Dot Sessions / Shani Aviram ) / CC BY-NC 4.0