NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 5:34 PM
Sam Quinones told [email protected] that he wrote extensively about the heroin epidemic in Ohio in “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” and suggested a two-part piece for “60 Minutes.”
A journalist says his story was gone in “60 Minutes.”
Veteran reporter and author Sam Quinones claims that he pitched the esteemed CBS News show on a story he had been working on for years — only to see it turn up on the air without so much as a mention of his name or his book on the subject.
A “60 Minutes” spokesman called the claim “absurd.”
Quinones told [email protected] that he wrote extensively about the heroin epidemic in Ohio in “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” and suggested a two-part piece for “60 Minutes” mirroring the two focuses of the book: the Mexican heroin industry and Middle America’s hunger for its product.
The Los Angeles Times reporter, who spent 10 years living in Mexico before writing the book that came out in June, says he was shocked when Sunday’s episode of the TV news magazine featured ideas he says came from his book — and even some of the people he interviewed.
Quinones says he believes producers hoped to cut costs by using his books to save time doing research.
“They could have told (this story) in — I don’t know — Vermont,” Quinones told us. “They chose the place that I had detailed in my book because it gave them a road map of who to talk to, what questions to ask and what the story was, so they could do it on the cheap.”
For the “Heroin in the Heartland” segment, “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker interviewed Wayne Campbell — the father of Tyler Campbell, a high school football player who died from an overdose in 2011 — and Tracy Morrison, also the parent of a heroin addict. Campbell had been quoted in Quinones’ book. Morrison is thanked in the acknowledgments.
“They had this book for six months, they combed through it, they asked me what stories I would do in Ohio, is Ohio a place to go, they asked me all of this, and it’s clear in the book; a central part of the book,” said the reporter. “They could have gone somewhere else and it would have cost them triple.”
A “60 Minutes” spokesman said: “A heroin epidemic across America has been rigorously documented in national and local media.
“It’s absurd for Mr. Quinones to claim credit for discovering that it’s a problem in Ohio. Authorities there, and victims such as the Campbell family, have a commendably high level of organization getting the word out about this crisis. Mr. Quinones, who did not add anything to our story, wanted to be part of it to get publicity for his work — which we suppose, now he has received.”