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Cronkite School’s Heroin Report Expected to be Ratings Boon

January 6, 2015

Next week, every broadcast TV station and most radio outlets in Arizona that are used to competing will unite and simultaneously air a 30-minute, commercial-free documentary produced by Arizona State University journalism students.

“Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” an investigative report by ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in association with the Arizona Broadcasters Association, focuses on the state’s growing and alarming perils of heroin and opioid use.

The statewide simulcast will air on Jan. 13 on all 33 broadcast TV stations in Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott and Yuma and more than 90 radio stations throughout the state. The air time will be 6:30 p.m. on most stations and 5 p.m. on Spanish language stations. The video and a series of multimedia stories will be available the evening of the showing at http://hookedaz.cronkitenewsonline.com.

“Hooked” traces the rise of heroin use and its impact on Arizonans through the stories of addicts struggling with sobriety, families grappling for solace, and law enforcement officials battling on the frontlines.

Cronkite School Dean and University Vice Provost Christopher Callahan said “Hooked” is anticipated to be one of Arizona’s most watched shows this year based on a similar project championed by the ABA in 2008.

Art Brooks, president and CEO of the ABA, developed the idea after learning of the seriousness of the issue and organized the backing of the state’s broadcast industry.

“The scourge of heroin and opioid addiction is killing hundreds of Arizonans, and the growing problem is reaching epidemic levels,” Brooks said. “Broadcast stations are fiercely competitive but our industry leaders are bonding together on this public danger in order to save lives.”

During and after the simulcast, the ABA will sponsor a call center for people seeking counseling or more information on heroin and opioid addiction. A 100-phone center with trained counselors will be set up in the studios of Arizona PBS on the sixth floor of the Cronkite building on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

The special TV report was a semester-long project led by Jacquee Petchel, a Cronkite professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and editor. Callahan said the report, spearheaded by a team of 70 students and eight faculty members, shines a light on a critical issue.

“Our students traveled across the state interviewing Arizonans about their experiences with heroin,” Callahan said. “They found that the drug impacts all demographic and socioeconomic groups in Arizona.”

ASU will screen the documentary at various campus locations during the night of the broadcast. The Cronkite School will host a viewing and a panel discussion, featuring some of the students that worked on the documentary, on Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the First Amendment Forum.

Public Screenings at ASU
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 6:30 p.m.
First Amendment Forum
555 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ, 85004

Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 6:30 p.m.
ASU Art Museum's Ceramic Research Center in the Brickyard, conference room
699 S. Mill Ave., #108, Tempe, AZ, 85281

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 6:30 p.m.
Armstrong Hall, LI-23
1100 S. McAllister Ave., Tempe, AZ, 85287