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FQA - Strategy Consulting

Reporting on Addiction

Developing a strategic plan to scale operations and grow impact 

Reporting on Addiction is on a mission to improve the portrayal of addiction in the news and reduce stigma and discrimination towards people with this chronic, treatable disease. Since their official launch in 2021, Reporting on Addiction has been providing training, 1:1 assistance and online tools to support those working in the journalism field. In late 2022, they decided to step back, obtain more feedback from the community, and prioritize plans for the future through the development of a strategic plan, with the support of FQA Institute for Social Impact.

About Reporting on Addition 

Reporting on Addiction is a collaboration between journalists, educators, addiction science experts, and experts through experience who are committed to improving the way addiction is portrayed in the news and reducing stigma. It all began as a conversation between two journalists, Ashton Marra and Kristen Uppercue of 100 Days in Appalachia, and an addiction science expert, Jonathan Stoltman and Mishka Terplan of Opioid Policy Institute, who observed the harms of inaccurate and stigmatizing stories about addiction and recovery, and wanted to be part of the solution. They believed that by making the media representation of addiction more accurate and empathetic, the public perception of addiction would shift, and people would more readily access the care they need for this chronic, treatable disease.  

Reporting on Addiction has built multiple programs to support professional journalists, journalism educators, student journalists, experts through experience and addiction science experts. They provide training, 1:1 support, and online tools to help spread evidence-based and human-centered stories of addiction and recovery. They also maintain a database of addiction experts that professional journalists can leverage while sourcing addiction stories.  Those who work with Reporting on Addiction say they have “an incredible trove of resources and good experts,” who are “working to make addiction science more translatable and relatable.” They are committed to helping journalists produce stories that use non-stigmatizing language and images, address the complexities of addiction and recovery, and present solutions.

“The FQA Institute team were great guides on our strategic planning journey. You can tell that they care about addiction and have a deep knowledge about problems in the space.”

Jonathan Stoltman, Co-Founder of Reporting on Addiction


"It was clear after the first meeting that we made the right decision to partner with FQA Institute. They set us up for the next five years and made thinking about the future more manageable and our goals achievable.”

Ashton Marra, Co-Founder of Reporting on Addiction

FQA Institute and Reporting on Addiction’s Approach

Step 1 – Research. We began with secondary research to establish an understanding of similar organizations working on stigma reduction, media education, or a combination. We also interviewed 16 key stakeholders, representing journalists, journalism educators, addiction science experts, and experts through experience, to get feedback from the community that Reporting on Addiction works with. We gained helpful inputs on potential new tools, the importance of collaboration, and the need to raise awareness of solutions more broadly. 

Step 2 – Collaborative Workshops. With a strong research foundation from step 1, we met in a series of workshops with leadership to conceptualize and align on the strategic plan. We started by discussing the long-term vision and refining Reporting on Addiction’s target audience, program scope, and intended impact. Last, we identified gaps and actions to fill them between 2023 and 2027, being thoughtful about interdependencies and feasibility. 

Step 3 – Strategic Plan Development. As an output of the work, a detailed implementation plan and strategic plan were established. The implementation plan identified 4 strategic goals and 49 tactical actions. Reporting on Addiction is using both deliverables to guide their priorities over the next five years and further clarify their plans with their partners.  

Looking to scale their operations and grow their impact, Reporting on Addiction decided to hire FQA Institute for Social Impact to help them align on their long-term vision and establish a strategic plan. The engagement was broken into three main phases – research, workshop discussion, and strategic plan development. The Reporting on Addiction team and FQA Institute team worked collaboratively, had thoughtful discussion, and iterated together on the final deliverables.

We are grateful for the opportunity to support Reporting on Addiction as they work to transform media accounts of addiction and recovery and reduce stigma and discrimination towards this chronic, treatable disease. 

To learn more about Reporting on Addiction, please visit their website and check out their strategic plan.  


To learn more about FQA Institute for Social Impact, please visit our services page or contact us via email.  

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