A pause

Welcome to the Substantive Newsletter, a weekly source for news from Boston’s addiction and recovery communities. 

I have a bit of a different message today in what is a very different newsletter.

In short, I’m taking a step back from the daily grind of Substantive.

I love reporting on addiction and recovery. It gives me meaning. And its an avenue through which I process personal traumas.

I’m a journalist at heart, though, and I’ve just had a one-of-a-kind opportunity to take on an increased role working with the Community Advocate newspaper in Central Mass.

This is a publication I’ve worked with for five years. It’s the paper that first paid me for my work. And it’s the team that taught me how to write the way I do today.

I want to tell stories. I want to write about the people, places and challenges that make communities what they are. I’ll get to do that in this new role even as this will mean less direct reporting on addiction and recovery.

As I make this announcement, I want to make clear — I resent the practice of parachute journalism. This is the behavior of reporters who drop into communities and then immediately move on. These journalists extract stories from “sources” and publishing that information, not in the interest of the community, but in the interest of resume building.

I never want to do that. I never want to be that.

I’m so grateful to the nearly 100 people who have subscribed to my newsletter.

I’m grateful to the others who have supported me on Patreon.

Most importantly, I will never be able to give enough thanks to the people who have shared their stories with me since I started this project just over six months ago.

I don’t plan to be a stranger. The problem that is addiction continues, after all, as communities remain oppressed through what is often the complacency of the mass media.

For now, though, I’m going to pause weekly newsletter updates and likely will not write as often in this forum as I currently do.

I’ve also paused my Patreon activity to avoid charging anyone who has pledged contributions through that platform.

Again, I hope to be back soon reporting on these topics. There is amazing work being done by advocates in this space.

And there are fantastic journalists also working, often in the margins of the media ecosystem. I’ve listed some of them below.

~ Dakota

  • Crackdown Podcast - Monthly podcast covering addiction and homelessness in Vancouver, Canada.

  • Filter - A magazine covering addiction on a national stage.

  • Double Blind - A literary journal published twice a year about psychedelic drugs and their decriminalization.

  • Narcotica Podcast - A podcast pulling together the journalistic perspectives of drug addiction experts around the country.

  • Zach Seigel - An independent journalist working with Narcotica and several other news outlets covering addiction and drugs.