Reporters on the Job

FOLLOWING A LEAD: Most stories don't take four years to put together. But the genesis of today's story about Romany overcoming racism (page 1), was a report that landed on reporter Arie Farnam's desk in 1997. That summer, she was working for the Prague Post, an English- language daily in the Czech Republic. "Buried in the report was this statistic: 75 percent of all Romany children attended schools for the mentally disabled. It struck me as an inordinately high figure. I interviewed some Romany children, and they didn't strike me as retarded," she says. Fast forward to about a year and a half ago, Arie was working on a documentary video about the Roma. That was when she initially met the two "amazing" teens featured in today's story.

SWEET TOOTH: It seems kids everywhere have a highly refined ability to gauge sweetness. The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi says that while reporting today's story about a rural Colombian chocolatemaker (page 7), near the end of the process Maria Vigida asked her small son to dip his finger in for a taste test. "It needs more sugar," he authoritatively pronounced. When Howard got home to Mexico City, he had his own children try the spicy homemade hot chocolate from Colombia. The jury was unanimous. "It needs more sugar," came the verdict.

SURVEY SAYS

BIGGEST DOWNLOADERS: Canadian and Taiwanese youths have the world's most voracious appetites for getting their music from the Internet, Reuters reports. In the two countries, 76 percent of Internet users between ages 18 and 24 have downloaded music files, says a study by Canadian market researchers Ipsos-Reid. They are closely followed by youth in Hong Kong and Sweden, where 75 percent of college-aged students have acquired songs from the Web, South Korea at 74 percent, and the United States and Argentina at 73 percent.

Let us hear from you.

Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail: world@csmonitor.com

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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