Language has a lot to do with how people react to news. When we at StoptheDrugWar read about a gunfight between rival drug dealers, we think "drug prohibition" -- that fight is happening because drugs are illegal, and so gangs instead of regulated businesses settle their disputes with violence instead of through fair competition or the courts. But mainstream news article usually don't say anything about prohibition. Instead an article is much more likely to just talk about "drugs." A better than average report might go into how people are fighting over the money being made, but it's likely to stop there.
StoptheDrugWar.org is pleased to announce the launch of our Drug Policy News Writing Demonstration Project. The project, which is being carried out under the auspices of our Drug War Chronicle newsletter, consists of rewriting mainstream news articles in ways that reflect the underlying role of prohibition in generating the situations being reported on.
As the project develops, we will be incorporating a wide range of expert quotes, so that it's respected scholars and professionals making the important points, not just staff of our drug reform organization. We'll be fine-tuning the writing and presentation, and working out a media outreach strategy to let reporters know what we've done with their articles. And we'll be working with volunteers and other interested parties to turn it into something big. We've talked previously about doing a large one-week demonstration project in which we rewrite every English-language news story about drugs that we can find on Google News, in order to have a reason to contact every drug reporter in the country in a way that they'll notice. We will plan to do that, but we've decide to take the project public in the meanwhile and work our way up to it. In the meanwhile, our rewrites are showing up in Google News themselves.
Visit the news project web site to see what we're doing, and write to us if you'd like to get involved.
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