Save the date: Friday, Nov. 15, to attend Covering Substance Abuse and Recovery, a workshop for journalists, in Ashland

Covering Substance Abuse and Recovery: A Workshop for Journalists will be held in Ashland Nov. 15 by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

The workshop is designed to help rural journalists cover a difficult subject, but one that needs covering to help their communities deal not only with substance abuse, but to know how recovery is possible.

More details and online registration will be available soon, but several award-winning speakers who have been leaders in covering these topics in Appalachia and adjoining areas will speak:

  • Beth Macy, award-winning author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America, just released in paperback.
  • Terry DeMio and Liz Dufour, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists from the Cincinnati Enquirer; DeMio has been the newspaper’s opioid beat reporter for five years, and Dufour is the lead visuals person on the beat and the Pulitzer-winning series, “Seven Days of Heroin.”
  • Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for revealing opioid distribution patterns in West Virginia.
  • Sharon Burton, editor publisher of the Adair County Community Voice in Columbia, a national leader in substance-abuse coverage by small newspapers.
  • Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley, who is a former legislator, attorney and television journalist.

Attendees will learn about the issues from a variety of experts in the field including award-winning journalists, authors, researchers, officials and people in recovery. The goals are to make sure they:

  • Understand the depth and breadth of the problem and how it affects local communities
  • Know how to get reliable data and other local information for reporting
  • Develop local, state, regional and national sources for stories and story ideas
  • Hear reporters explain how they cover the problem and the people affected by it
  • Appreciate the role of local news media in reducing the stigma that inhibit local action

Research by Oak Ridge Associated Universities has shown that the stigma attached to drug use and addiction are major obstacles to news coverage of the problem, which makes it harder for communities to find solutions.

The workshop will begin with a welcome reception on Thursday evening, Nov. 14, and run all day Nov. 15. Online registration will be required, with an early-bird registration rate of $50 to cover meals, snacks, and materials. Please contact Al Cross with any questions:

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