[bonnie1] Armed with a Beaners coffee mug in her left hand and a bottle of water in her right, Bonnie Bucqueroux walks into her journalism class with her drugs of choice: caffeine and water. Coordinator of the Victims and the Media Program at MSU’s School of Journalism, Bucqueroux chooses these weapons to keep her alert, but draws on her words to defend herself. Recently, though, Bucqueroux has chosen a new aid: digital video. She is now beginning what she estimates will be a three-year project, a documentary on the legalization of drugs in the United States.
“I like what you can do with audio and visuals to tell stories,” Bucqueroux said. “I’m used to using words to tell a story so I’ve been doing a lot of work and learning new skills.”
[bonnie2] Bucqueroux’s long and varied career in communications started early. Her romance with words began at Jackson High School, where she was the newspaper editor. During her senior year of high school, she was offered a scholarship by a wealthy man in her hometown to write a biography about his father. After finishing the book and a few years of college, Bucqueroux found work proofreading nuclear specifications. Feeling unenthused about her work, she moved around a bit, first to Florida to work in advertising and later to the Mexican mountains. Bucqueroux returned to Michigan to write a nationally award-winning article for Farm Journal, a Michigan farm magazine, beating out the likes of Newsweek and others. She had begun freelancing for magazines such as Mademoiselle and had two years dedicated to a new book when her house burned down, leaving her work in ashes. Unsure where to go, she came to MSU to work with her now deceased friend, Bob Trojamowicz, in the National Center for Community Policing, and in 1995 was moved to the Victims in the Media program.
Working closely with police and training students to understand victims and drug offenders have allowed Bucqueroux to form a strong opinion on America’s no-tolerance drug policy.
“We have crumbling schools and new prisons,” Bucqueroux said. “We should treat this as a public health concern. Our focus on the drug war is a misplaced priority.”
[bonnie4] Bucqueroux’s writes on her weblog she wants her documentary to do for the war on drugs what Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 did for the war in Iraq. Mixing silly cartoons of Betty Boop singing about smoking opium with powerful interviews, among them the story of a mother who was sent to prison for 20 years for riding unknowingly in a car with drugs in the trunk, Bucqueroux wants to impact viewers with humor and riveting film reels.
So far, Bucqueroux’s biggest challenge has not been finding the right frame or interviewee, but funding. Faced with the decision to buy a new car or digital video equipment, she chose scooting around town in a purple car with flowers painted on the side and new equipment in her home. The equipment will help her in creating the movie, but when she’s ready to release it she will still need to raise $10,000 to cover insurance expenses to protect her against copyright laws.
For now, Bucqueroux is keeping her focus on making her documentary, recently traveling to Ann Arbor to conduct another interview. And just because her film won’t be released for a while doesn’t mean Bucqueroux’s tongue is tied. She can be found speaking her mind and showcasing her video editing skills at the Detroit News Politics and Government weblog at http://info.detnews.com/weblog/. Using coffee and water as her only stimulants, Bucqueroux will continue to voice her war on drugs with words, and now, video.

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