Sunday, March 1, 2009

LAPD probes drug sting run by school,0,5833832.story

One of the reasons I decided to cover crime in the L.A. Times was that I was pretty sure I would come across some interesting cases. So far I have yet to be proven wrong.
This article reports on a middle school drug ring. Administrators at a California middle school suspected one of their students of selling drugs, so they then sent another student undercover to buy drugs from the first student. Who knows if it was bad judgment or ignorance of the law, but it is definitely illegal to ask a minor to buy drugs.
The article starts with an entertaining, but not very direct lead. The actual news is not mentioned until the third paragraph. In this case, I feel it was acceptable to do so, because in order to understand the newsworthiness of this article, it is necessary to understand the almost silly decision that the administration made.
Throughout the article the reporter clearly illustrates that the administration of Porter Middle School made a careless mistake, without completely chastising and embarrassing them. Both sides of the story are given; the reason behind the administrations decision and the legal ramifications of that decision. Important facts like anticipated punishment for both the child who was asked to buy the marijuana as well as the administration who asked him to do it were included, but the intended punishment for the child selling marijuana was left out.
As the article went on it became less and less focused, ending on a completely different topic within the school district. Yes, it is news, but it is not THIS news. Over all I think it was an interesting and news worthy piece but not an urgent piece, and it was written as such.


  1. This was definitely a bizarre case. It has that oddity element that makes you want to keep reading. I agree with you also that it turns into a completely different article by the end. The hazing incident probably deserves its own article, especially if there's a pattern developing there.

  2. Good catch about the article ending- it is definitely a related issue, but probably could have used its own article.

  3. Towards the end, it seemed like the reporter was just trying to fill space, which is a total waste of the reader's time. I feel like this article could be better suited for a small spot in an actual paper: the kind of short, to-the-point articles you sometimes see on the front page that really just fill space.