By Eric Andrews | Echo
Chrissie (Thompson) Fink ('08) and her team of reporters at the Cincinnati Enquirer received the Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the heroin epidemic in Cincinnati.
Awarded on Monday, the Pulitzer Prize is among the most prestigious awards in journalism. Fink and her team of over 60 reporters covered Cincinnati's heroin problem in riveting fashion, going into the Cincinnati community for one full week in July 2017 - 24/7 - to see and share people's stories.
The project, entitled "Seven Days of Heroin," earned The Enquirer their second-ever Pulitzer Prize after a 27-year drought.
Fink, a former Editor in Chief of The Echo while at Taylor, helped guide the project by coordinating the schedules for the other reporters. Fink noted the significance of the project went beyond just sharing the events of the week.
"The main goal was to be able to show how the heroin epidemic is affecting each person's life, even if they didn't realize it," Fink said. "I believe the stat that they used is something like two out of three people in the Cincinnati area know someone who is affected by the heroin epidemic. But, that means one in three don't, or they say they don't, and we want to show them that, even if you think you're not affected by this, it's not somebody else's problem. It is affecting the people on the road next to you, the people in the parking lot next to you, people who are in your neighborhood, also the economic background - all walks of life."
Throughout the course of the week, Fink and her team discovered some heartbreaking statistics. From July 10-16, 2017, the heroin epidemic claimed 18 lives and brought 15 babies into the world with heroin-related medical problems.
The piece compiled the testimonies and details from people involved on all sides of the issue in a powerful manner and aimed to spread awareness and generate hope for the people of Cincinnati.
The recognition came as no surprise to Department Chair and Associate Professor of Communication Donna Downs, who was the faculty adviser of The Echo when Fink served on staff.
"Chrissie probably is one of the top students I've seen come through Taylor," Downs said. ". . . She's always wanted to do her best work. She seeks excellence in everything she does. She not only seeks excellence in what she does, but she brings people alongside her who then want to do the same excellent work. To have her win a Pulitzer at such a young age is simply amazing, (and) I'm not surprised by it at all, because she's that good."
After graduating from Taylor, Fink interned with the Associated Press and worked at Automotive News and the Detroit Free Press before moving to The Enquirer.
Fink, affectionately called "Mama" by her friends at Taylor, met her husband, Chris Fink ('07), on a pick-a-date and has been been married for nine years.
"She has inspired me because she works in both a kind and assertive manner," said senior Mary Helen Thompson, Fink's sister. ". . . She teaches me to work hard both for the reward of the work itself and to benefit those around me."
To read the story from The Enquirer, go to www.cincinnati.com/.