Reporters on the Job

Better Than Gorp? Out in the remote reaches of eastern Chad, food and water are scarce. Most of the aid workers and journalists whom staff writer Abe McLaughlin met had their own portable survival food. "One carried jars of olives. Another lots of power bars. I carried gorp (a mixture of various nuts and chocolate chips) and biltong (a South African version of beef jerky)," he says.

But no one had anything like French geologist Alain Gachet's survival food. "When I saw it, I knew he was going to be an interesting person to interview (page 1)," says Abe. "Over breakfast that morning, he pulled out a glass jar filled with onion slices preserved in salt and started munching. It was, he said, a concoction his father invented in the trenches during World War I. His father, he said, was one of the few in his unit who survived. 'Onions, they're wonderful for your health,' Gachet declared.

"Several of us sitting around the table gave it a try," says Abe. "They're pretty good - as long as you don't have to talk to anyone for the rest of the day. Soon we hopped in Mr. Gachet's vehicle and went barreling off into the bush, leaving, I'm sure, a trail of onion scent wafting behind us for miles," says Abe, who plans to stick with his gorp.

TV Debates in Jakarta: Reporter Tom McCawley covered the Indonesian elections in 1999, and he can see some evidence of the emerging democratic culture this time around (this page).

"Indonesian election campaigns usually consist of little more than tooting cavalcades of body-painted youths - like rowdy soccer fans. But this time Indonesians witnessed their first live televised debates. Presidential candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono faced rigorous grillings from upstart 20-something journalists. And Indonesians saw incumbent president Megawati facing a test of honest competition. She could no longer hide behind her aides," says Tom.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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