Gogek to Use Funding for Substance Abuse Research

Article excerpt

SPJ names 1999 Pulliam Editorial Fellowship recipient

The Society of Professional Journalists and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation have selected Jim Gogek of The San Diego UnionTribune as the recipient of the 1999 Pulliam Editorial Fellowship for Editorial Writing.

The $40,000 editorial writing award was established to enhance the professional development of outstanding editorial writers. The award is administered by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, the educational arm of SPJ.

Gogek's research will focus on the nation's response to substance abuse. He will use the fellowship to research the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment and prevention programs around the country, specifically focusing on the programs' impacts on related social problems such as crime, violence, child abuse and homelessness.

"Our national response to substance abuse has become a very important public issue in recent years, one that is changing the way we look at our systems of criminal justice, juvenile delinquency and

social services," stated Gogek in his application. "Huge public expenditures-billions of dollars nationwide-are now being devoted to treating and preventing substance abuse. I want to examine this major change in public policy and explain to the public its promise and pitfalls."

Gogek's yearlong project includes the development of a web site for journalists with links to or reprints of the most important studies on substance abuse. He also plans a series of editorials and, eventually, a book on the issue. Gogek will present his research and findings in a report in Quill magazine in the next year.

"The judges were most impressed by Jim's proposal" said Paul McMasters, vice president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and coordinator of the Pulliam Editorial Fellowship judging. "He demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the nation's drug treatment and prevention programs, and he laid out an ambitious plan for inquiring into the effectiveness of these programs. We found particularly appealing his idea of sharing his research and writing over the World Wide Web."

Gogek just completed one of a dozen or so trips in which he will visit various cities to inspect treatment and prevention programs and study nonprofit organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Partnership for a Drug-Free America. He's also planning a survey of state- and federal-level alcohol and drug services to find out about the amount of money spent on the programs and how they re working. …