Reporters on the Job

Conned in Italy ? Correspondent Sophie Arie was as taken by the plight of Giorgio Angelozzi (page 7) as the rest of Italy. As reported on Nov. 5, 2004, "Italian family reaches out and adopts a granddad," Mr. Angelozzi placed an ad in an Italian newspaper, looking for a family. "He was polite, gentlemanly. A well-educated 80-year-old who would pepper his conversation with quotes from poetry and the classics. He was lonely, and struck a chord here because he seemed so typical of the elderly today."

Apart from enjoying the limelight, there was nothing that Sophie found suspicious about him during her two interviews. "I don't think he deliberately staged this as a way to make money. He received many offers, but he chose to live with a very modest family. I would say that he's not a career con man, but someone who gets into difficult financial situations and doesn't handle it well."

Of course, Sophie now wonders if she should have been more suspicious. "I spoke to neighbors in his village. But nothing raised any red flags. Should I have checked police records? If I had, maybe I would have saved this family a lot of trouble. Some stories you approach with an investigative mentality. But others, you don't take that approach unless there's something suspicious."

Homeless in Harare: The crackdown on the poor in Zimbabwe (this page) hit close to home for reporter Ryan Truscott. "We have a housekeeper whose cousin just had a baby. It was 2-days-old when the police moved in and demolished her house," he says. The mother and child are staying with the housekeeper and her daughter. "We've helped with clothes and bedding. Her situation is a microcosm of what's happened: The majority of the 300,000 homeless have been absorbed into extended families. Those without relatives go to churches or the holding camp outside Harare," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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