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When student journalism works

We’ve been having fun here with the ongoing “Kids Say the Darndest Things” series, and probably will continue to do so as long as student journalists embarrass themselves and the future of the profession.

Here’s an example that actually proves the point of that ridicule by demonstrating what student journalism can and should be.

Macy Linton is a 19-year-old freshman at LSU and wrote this OpEd in the LSU Reveille: Southern Discourse: Mexican, US drug legalization necessary to end war

It’s a well-thought-out, well-written opinion piece about the drug war in Mexico and Vicente Fox’s call for legalization.

It’s not perfect by any means. Her mention of “34,000 people dead from drug-related incidents” is very badly phrased since they’re drug-war-related incidents and not drug-related (but unfortunately that same imprecision is used by many professional columnists). It’s also unfortunate that she repeated as truth Vicente Fox’s one blunder in his recent speaking — saying that Portugal showed a 25% decrease in drug use in the ten years since decriminalization (in fact, Portugal showed dramatic gains, including reduction in absolute terms of use by certain age cohorts – including the critical 15-19 cohort – and only mild increases less than the EU averages in other age groups, plus a huge reduction in drug-related deaths, etc., but a 25% reduction in overall drug use wasn’t part of this clear success).

Keep at it Macy. Good luck with your international studies. We need more like you.

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11 comments to When student journalism works

  • Maria

    Smart woman, intelligent writer, clear thinker, needs to brush up a bit on her fact checking skills, but so do most of us. That should come with time and experience.

    Maybe you could combine each rib tickling “darndest” post with something like this at the end, for balance? To make it clear that youth, ignorance, and inexperience is no excuse if you’re a publishing journalist or writer.

  • Buc

    Wait a minute. Come on, Mr. Guither, this is an unnecessarily nice critique of this piece of writing!

    I was a college student not that long ago and let me tell you, there is no way this young lady knows how much ire she might draw from local law enforcement if they read her overwhelmingly logical article. She probably has no idea of what kind of repercussions she’ll be facing if she ever has the misfortune of being brought before a judge.

    Most college students aren’t ready for studying drug policy at the blog-level. Why do you think they’re in college and not blogging? They’re too busying reading about economics and the like, not things that pertain to drug policy. By targeting her and giving her applause, you’re claiming that this college student is ready to start explaining why American drug policy is bad to people in the real world.

    She’ll probably never even notice her name posted here. However, your critique was still way too nice and way too fair.

    😉

  • MalcolmKyle

    Thanx Macy!

    The United States has spent millions of dollars trying to eradicate the drug in Jamaica. A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

    Jamaica government to weigh pot decriminalization

  • Macy Linton

    Wow. When I wrote this article for a Louisiana newspaper (albeit a college one), I never expected such a glowing response — nor useful constructive criticism, for that matter. Thank you to Mr. Guither and everyone who commented! I hope I can continue to present logical arguments for the Reveille in the future and, of course, keep my reader base full of intelligent, world-conscious bloggers like yourselves. Maybe one day I’ll even graduate college and join your ranks. 😉
    Also, I’m completely embarrassed about my fact-checking failure — I’ll do a better job in the future, promise!

    • darkcycle

      Well done, Macy. Well received here by the toughest drug reform audience around. A 9.5 out of a possible ten. Forget about a perfect ten, that (former) East German judge is a hard case.

    • Leonard Junior

      The thing that bothers me, is why can’t the metro area decriminalize if N.O. already has? The Covington/Mandeville has become ridiculous with police activity– worse than ever.

    • Keep at it Macy… defeating prohibition at the intellectual level is work already done, it is on the practical level of de-constructing the massive gov’t bureaucracy and the attendant for-profit industries it feeds that the work needs most to be done. Does LSU have a Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter? if so, join ’em. Also pay attention to the voices of LEAP, Al Giordano and NarcoNews, google Senlis Council, Switzerland HAT… the drug war is a boondoggle of fantastic dimension and horrific effects. We need to be disgusted and pro-active.

      And glad to see you dropping by Pete’s couch… if in the future you have questions on any drug policy issues, this would be THE place (and THE folks) to ask. Guaranteed someone here will have an answer.

  • Duncan20903

    Google is your best friend if you don’t care for the taste of your foot.

  • darkcycle

    Wasington State passed the dispensary bill.

  • MalcolmKyle

    Taliano also struck down two sections of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that prohibit possession and cultivating marijuana.

    – the regulations drive the critically ill to the black market,” he wrote.