Reporters on the Job

Village Inspiration: When correspondent Mike Crawley visited the Sengalese village of Ker Simbara for today's story (this page), he was struck by the number of projects that the villagers had under way.

"This village is nothing more than a few huts around a single baobab tree," says Mike. "Yet they've opened a community owned store, a day-care center, a medical clinic once a week, and are holding literacy classes. I've traveled around Africa and this is not something I've seen to this extent before."

Mike credits the village imam, Demba Diawara. "He's an older man but not set in his ways. He was illiterate 10 years ago, but now proudly writes down the number of villages he's visited. And he's changed his attitude about the role of women," says Mike. "He's leading by example and inspiring others in his village - and beyond. He's visited more than other 150 villages to talk about his own experiences - mostly about education and respect for human rights."

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A Vatican Instant Message : Correspondent Sophie Arie works out of the same office building as several news agencies in Rome, so she's had a front-row seat in looking at how her colleagues have covered the passing of Pope John Paul II (page 1). There is much protocol and tradition associated with his death, so she was surprised when the news was sent to journalists by text message on their cellphones, just 15 minutes after he passed on. "That was unprecedented. In the past, the announcement would have waited until the next morning. But the Vatican seemed very willing to cooperate and get the news out. And a colleague at Agence France-Presse was pleased as Punch that they'd got the word out two minutes before their competitors."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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