Reporters on the Job

Nothing Left to Hug : When staff writer Danna Harman told friends that she was going to visit a rain forest in Guatemala for today's story on "fair-trade" lumber (page 1), they said to her, "Wow. You have the best job in the world."

But like many reporting assignments, the reality is a lot less glamorous. "We drove for hours yesterday on very rocky roads, traveling through the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a supposedly protected rain forest in northern Guatemala. Our guides kept saying, 'We'll get the to forest soon.' " When Danna filed the story, she still hadn't arrived at the rain forest.

"We're still on the way. We've seen peasants clearing the ground cover with fire, and a lot of farming and cattle ranching, all within the so-called protected forest. The only big trees I have seen so far have been on the back of the T-shirt worn by our guide with the command: 'Go hug a tree today.' I'm still waiting for something to embrace," says Danna.

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Weapon of Fear: Correspondent Jill Carroll struggled to find Iraqis willing to come forward with information about kidnappings. "We found lots of people who had been kidnapped and lots of people who knew people that had been kidnapped."

But, she says, "it was really hard to find someone willing to go on the record about this. People are so afraid, even long afterward. We found people who had been kidnapped months ago who were too afraid to tell their story. The guy who came forward for my story was brave (this page). He's a big, tough guy, but even he was afraid to use his name." It shows the power of this weapon of the insurgency, says Jill.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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