Today's Story Line:
BOSTON — Even with a growing multinational peacekeeping force, East Timor remains a dangerous place. Militia members attacked journalists Tuesday, killing Sander Thoenes, a Monitor contributor.
Security issues are top of mind in Moscow, too. Police are targeting those who look like ethnic minorities.
Canada attempts to breathe life into an unusual plan to swap debts for air pollution credits. Meanwhile, in France, even the mice are venturing out into streets emptied of cars.
- David Clark Scott, World editor
REPORTERS ON THE JOB *SANDER's LEGACY: Most of you, like me, know Sander Thoenes by his work. A Dutch journalist, Sander went to Jakarta for the Financial Times in 1997. He quickly became a regular contributor to our pages and those of the Vrij Nederland, a magazine in his homeland. During the past three months, as he broke me in as a new editor, Sander became a trusted colleague. We had several long-distance phone conversations that wound into the night (here) as he patiently explained the complexities of Indonesian politics. We often held "pajama calls," as we dubbed them - due to the time difference, invariably one of us was getting ready for bed.
Sander filed daily news reports to The Financial Times in London, sometimes several stories in a day as the pace of events in East Timor quickened. It can be grueling work providing coverage for one employer, let alone several. But he was tenacious and professional. One week ago, when we called, Sander said he was tired and wasn't sure if he could file. "Perhaps I could contribute a paragraph or two to another story." "Fine," we said. Within minutes, however, he fired off nearly 800 words - a full story.
Sander sought out the Monitor because he saw it as an opportunity to do "a different kind of journalism," as he put it. In our opinion, his forte was stepping back from the rush of daily events and telling Monitor readers what was really going on and why they should care. Go back and read some of his stories on our Web site (www.csmonitor. com), particularly the last four on East Timor. It's easy for us to gauge the relevance of events looking in the rear-view mirror. But journalism is frequently a seat-of-the-pants first draft of history. And any honest reporter will tell you that one of the hardest things to do is discern the topography of truth amid the hailstorm of daily events.
Sander was not cavalier in his approach to reporting. He knew the risks. But he had the courage to probe for the truth.
Our condolences go to his family. And we thank you, Sander, for being our sure-footed guide.
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