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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