Cronkite News videographer Sean Logan and reporter Lily Altavena interview a source for the documentary.

“Hooked Rx: From Prescription to Addiction” is a special investigative project on the destructive epidemic of opioid addiction produced by advanced journalism students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

For about four months, dozens of students throughout the school crisscrossed the state to produce a multimedia investigation into Arizona’s - and the country’s - dependence on prescription pain medication and the toll addiction takes on families and patients. The project includes:

    ● A 30-minute investigative documentary to be aired Jan. 10 by every Arizona television station and most of the state’s radio outlets. The broadcast was shot and reported by a team of students led by chief videographer Sean Logan under the direction of Cronkite professor Jacquee Petchel. Assistant Dean Mark Lodato and Cronkite News television production manager Jim Jacoby assisted in production.

    ● More than two dozen stories, graphics and videos on Cronkite News digital reporters led by professor of practice Christina Leonard and students in Petchel’s Depth Reporting class produced the digital content focusing on doctors, addicts, rehabilitation, pills and taking action.

    ● Cronkite News digital production and social media students, led by professors of practice Rebecca Blatt and Jessica Pucci and student Hope Flores, put the website together, and developed and executed the social media plan. Cronkite News developer Bhuvan Aggarwal designed and built the website.

    ● 360-degree video produced by students in the New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, led by professor of practice Retha Hill.

    ● The Public Insight Network, directed by Theresa Poulson, found sources throughout Arizona who were willing to share their stories with reporters.

    ● Communications students in the Cronkite Public Relations Lab, under the direction of professor of practice Mark Hass and Sonia Bovio, developed a strategic communication plan and organized an advocacy campaign designed to inform young people on campus and across the state about the dangers of opioid abuse.

    ● Hospital emergency department data was obtained from the Arizona Department of Health Services and analyzed by Professor and Knight Chair in Journalism Steve Doig.

“Hooked Rx” follows in the footsteps of the award-winning “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona” a 2015 documentary that was also broadcast on all Arizona television stations. It was awarded the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and launched a nationwide campaign to combat opioid abuse by the National Association of Broadcasters.

- Kevin Dale, executive editor, Cronkite News at Arizona PBS


Cronkite News is the news division of Arizona PBS . The daily news products are produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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