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Cronkite School’s ‘Hooked’ Heroin Documentary Wins EPPY Award

November 5, 2015

For the fourth consecutive year, a major multimedia investigation led by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has received a prestigious EPPY Award from Editor & Publisher magazine.

“Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona” won an EPPY in the category of “Best College/University Investigative or Documentary Feature.” Produced in partnership with the Arizona Broadcasters Association, the documentary, which traces the growing perils of heroin use in Arizona, reached more than 1 million Arizonans in January.

The EPPY Awards recognize the best media-affiliated websites across 31 diverse categories, including three honoring excellence in college and university journalism. The 2015 EPPY Award entries were judged by a panel of notable figures in the media industry, chosen by Editor & Publisher staff. “Hooked” beat out five other university journalism project finalists in its category.

The documentary, which aired on all 33 broadcast TV stations and 93 radio stations throughout the state, features a multimedia-rich website, including videos, infographics, data visualizations, a downloadable graphic novel and a statewide resource guide for addicts and families. The documentary has been viewed and shared more than 100,000 times online since its original airing.

“We have been amazed by the outpouring of support and recognition from the journalism community for this project,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “To be recognized by Editor & Publisher, one of journalism’s leading publications, is a tremendous honor for our outstanding students and faculty.”

More than 70 students and eight faculty members at the Cronkite School worked on the project under the direction of Cronkite professor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.

In the past four years, the Cronkite School has ranked atop the university investigative reporting category of the EPPYs. Last year, the school’s Carnegie-Knight News21 investigation “Gun Wars,” examining gun rights and regulations, took the honor. News21 also won EPPY Awards in the same category for its national investigations into the battles facing post-9/11 veterans back home in 2013 and voting rights in 2012. Headquartered at the Cronkite School, News21 is a national multimedia reporting initiative that engages top journalism students in investigating an issue of national significance.

In this year’s EPPY Awards, the Cronkite School received four nominations in student media categories. News21’s investigation into marijuana legalization was nominated in the best university investigative feature, along with “Hooked.” Cronkite News was nominated for best university news website, and Cronkite’s Southwest Borderlands Initiative multimedia reporting project -- "Nicaragua: Channeling the Future" -- was nominated for best university news feature.

The EPPY Award is the latest honor for “Hooked.” The documentary has made history at several journalism contests, taking awards typically reserved for professional media organizations. In October, the documentary received two of the region’s top professional honors at the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, an Emmy in the category of “Societal Concerns – Program/Special,” as well as the Governors’ Award. In May, students who worked on “Hooked” took first place in video storytelling at the Arizona Press Club Awards.