The Baltimore Banner And The New York Times Publish Investigative Series

The Baltimore Banner, a rapidly growing multi-platform news operation, covering a broad range of topics and serving hundreds of thousands of readers, has published the first in a series of stories with The New York Times’s Local Investigations Fellowship.

The first article, “Almost 6,000 Dead in 6 Years: How Baltimore Became the U.S. Overdose Capital”, by Baltimore Banner Reporters Alissa Zhu, Nick Thieme and Jessica Gallagher, details the staggering depth of Baltimore’s opioid crisis. The article uncovers that Baltimore’s fatal overdose rate far exceeds that of any other large American city and how Baltimore’s efforts to fight overdoses have stalled as city leaders have become preoccupied with other crises. Zhu was selected as a fellow for The Times’s inaugural 2023-2024 fellowship class. The class consists of seven reporters with Zhu being the only reporter from Maryland. Zhu joined the Baltimore Banner team in 2022 as an immigration reporter.

“I hope everyone takes a few moments to read these eye-opening articles that question the city’s response to the overdose crisis,” said The Baltimore Banner’s Editor-in-Chief Kimi Yoshino. “We’re thankful to collaborate with The New York Times which brings national visibility to the opioid epidemic that is plaguing Baltimore and other cities across our nation.”

The stories are the culmination of more than a year of research that included a legal battle. The Banner successfully sued The Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner after it refused to turn over key aspects of autopsy reports, such as toxicology reports and demographic information. These reports were essential to accurately reporting the scope of the state’s opioid crisis.

The Local Investigations Fellowship gives journalists the opportunity to produce signature investigative work focused on the state or region they’re reporting from that will be published by The Times. The program is led by Dean Baquet, the former executive editor of The Times.

The articles are available for free for co-publication by local newsrooms.

“Collaboration between local and national media is invaluable to informing our neighborhoods of pertinent issues,” said Banner Head of Newsroom Strategy Monique Jones. “The Times’s interest in addressing Baltimore’s opioid epidemic through its Local Investigations Fellowship speaks to the urgency and true extent of our opioid crisis. This collaboration is a huge accomplishment that showcases our first-rate reporting, especially heading into just our second anniversary.”

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About The Baltimore Banner 

The Baltimore Banner is a multi-platform news operation serving Greater Baltimore and Maryland. Its coverage includes topics ranging from politics and criminal justice, to sports, education, and entertainment. The Banner’s mission is to be an indispensable resource that strengthens, unites and inspires the local communities they serve. To learn more, visit: .