Reporters on the Job

Paris Isn't Burning: Staff writer Peter Ford, who spent a quiet weekend with friends and family in Paris - going out to dinner, taking walks, and watching his son play rugby in a western suburb - was a little surprised to find that people abroad think he and his neighbors must be cowering in their basements, sheltering from rioters.

"First, I would describe this as sporadic outbursts of violence, rather than rioting," says Peter. "Secondly, almost all the trouble so far has broken out in small pockets of distressed areas where journalists are the only outside visitors. You have to go looking for trouble to find it."

Still, a couple of Peter's foreign friends have had worried phone calls from relatives, wondering if they are safe. And a visitor was a little nervous about taking the airport train to Charles de Gaulle on Saturday: the suburban line runs right through the hot spots, and one train was stoned last week.

Cabbie Wisdom: It's one of the oldest tricks in the foreign-correspondent book - quoting your cab driver. For that very reason, staff writer Abraham McLaughlin says that he resists doing it.

"But as I rode from the airport to my hotel a few nights ago, just after arriving in the tense Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, the cabbie launched into a trenchant analysis of the political situation. I later had other conversations that backed up his basic point, but none of the 'real experts' put it any better," he says.

So, Abe decided to give credit where it was due. The first quote in his story, comes from "a thirtysomething guy in a wool-knit cap who drives, as many cabbies do here, an aging Soviet-made Lada. Like so many cabbies around the world, he's happy to give you a ride - and an opinion."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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