ASU student-produced 'Hooked' documentary reaches 1M viewers

January 23, 2015

An estimated 1 million Arizonans tuned in last week to a documentary produced by Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on the growing perils of heroin and opioid use in Arizona.

The statewide simulcast of “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” created by the Cronkite School in conjunction with the Arizona Broadcasters Association, attracted approximately 1 million viewers in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, Arizona, based on ratings by Nielsen and Rentrak. man in background filming man in foreground Download Full Image

Nielsen estimated nearly 390,000 households in the Phoenix market watched the documentary on television. Rentrak projected more than 117,000 households watched in the Tucson and Yuma markets, which do not have access to daily Nielsen ratings. Estimating an average of two viewers per household brings the total number to more than 1 million.

In the Phoenix market, “Hooked” was the week’s highest-rated program, with twice the number of viewers as the CBS crime drama NCIS, the regular weekly ratings frontrunner. The “Hooked” ratings were nearly half of the Phoenix viewing audience of last year’s Super Bowl.

During and after the simulcast, which aired on all 33 broadcast television stations and 93 radio stations in Arizona, recovery counselors answered 438 calls through an ABA-sponsored call center in the Cronkite School for assistance on heroin and opioid addiction. They spent a total of total of 38 hours and 20 minutes on the phone.

“We were so overwhelmed with the positive response of ‘Hooked,’” said Art Brooks, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Broadcasters Association. “It’s unusual for highly competitive media outlets to work together, but this project proved that the extremity and urgency of the heroin issue in Arizona is far greater than all of us, and with the power of media and free, over-the-air broadcasting, we could help Arizonans in need.”

The 30-minute documentary 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.

The documentary includes an interactive website with numerous in-depth stories, data, interactives and counseling resources. In all, eight faculty members and more than 70 students worked on the semester-long project, which was led by Jacquee Petchel, a Cronkite professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and editor.

According to Christopher Callahan, Cronkite School dean and university vice provost, students will continue to report on Arizona’s heroin epidemic through the school’s professional news organization, Cronkite News. The operation includes a nightly newscast reaching 1.9 million households on Arizona PBS and digital news bureaus in Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

“The media typically has a short attention span when it comes to covering issues of importance,” Callahan said. “We are not walking away from this problem which is killing hundreds of Arizonans every year. Our students will continue to report this public danger.”

Reporter , ASU News


ASU celebrates farmers market 5-year anniversary

January 23, 2015

The Farmers Market @ ASU Tempe is holding a special anniversary recognition ceremony, Jan. 27, to honor the vendors, staff, students and community partners for turning a vision of socially embedded market tradition for ASU and the greater community into reality.

The event will take place at noon, on the Student Services Lawn, on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. student picking out produce at food stand Download Full Image

The farmers market concept at ASU began as an environmental sustainability service learning class project. In September 2009, Chad Williams, former president of the ASU Health and Counseling Student Action Committee, collaborated with multiple ASU departments and university partners to organize a pilot market.

Due to the overwhelming response of the pilot market, a monthly market started being held during the spring 2010 semester. Interest continued to rise, so during fall 2010 the market started being held every other week.

Over the last five years, the market has provided fresh and local food for students, faculty, staff and the Tempe community while raising awareness about healthy eating and sustainability. In April 2012, the Farmers Market @ ASU Tempe received an ASU President’s Award for Sustainability.

During spring 2015, the farmers market will be conducted on the Student Services Lawn from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Jan. 27, Feb. 10, Feb. 24, March 24, April 7 and April 21. With approximately 25 vendors, the market features seasonal produce, specialty food items produced in Arizona and ready-to-eat food and beverages. While the event is geared toward ASU students, faculty and staff, the outside community is also encouraged to visit the market. The farmers market is a collaborative effort, sponsored by ASU departments, student groups and community organizations.

“The market contains a wide variety of healthy foods. One can enjoy lunch, buy fruits and vegetables, or pick up a snack on the way to class. The farmers market provides us with opportunities to integrate healthy eating and green living practices into our daily lives,” says Betty Lombardo, manager in the Office of University Sustainability Practices.

For more information about the Farmers Market @ ASU Tempe, visit

Lisa Robbins

Assistant Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications