A team consisting primarily of journalists from the Cincinnati Enquirer and includes 2008 Taylor University graduate Chrissie Thompson Fink has won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for their story Seven Days of Heroin.
Fink, who graduated with a Communication degree from Taylor was a writer and editor for Taylor's student newspaper, The Echo. She now serves as Columbus bureau chief for the Enquirer, and was a member of the editorial team for the project that marshaled the skills of more than 60 editors, reporters, photographers and videographers to chronicle the growing heroin and opioid epidemic in the Cincinnati area.
The piece was comprised of written stories, photos, and video, and studied the week of July 10-16, 2017. During that week, there were 18 heroin-related deaths, at least 180 heroin and opioid overdoses, more than 200 heroin users in jail, and 15 babies born with heroin-related medical problems, all in the greater Cincinnati area.
“There is something to be said for one really big story that focuses on the raw, human aspects of the heroin crisis,” Fink said. “We focused our entire newsroom, and newsrooms around the state, on it for a week. I think it’s working. It has reached a lot of people and drawn them in and made them think.
“You have to be an idealist to be a journalist,” she added. “When I was in college, I fell in love with telling peoples’ stories. It is a way to bring people together and affect change—this piece is a wonderful example of that. You want to show people what the scope of this epidemic is, that it really does affect them. It is all around their life.”
Fink lives near Columbus, Ohio, with her husband Chris, a 2007 Taylor graduate, and daughter Charlotte. As Columbus bureau chief, she covers state and national politics.
"My hope is that the Pulitzer recognition, so richly deserved, exposes even more people to the project, because the events chronicled in Seven Days of Heroin continue, and people remain desperate for help," said Enquirer Editor Beryl Love.