Reporters on the Job

Back to School in Peru: Sometimes being a journalist resembles nothing so much as being a college student trying to produce a last-minute term paper.

Staff writer Danna Harman has been to Peru and has well enough developed relationships with sources that she can call them at a moment's notice. That provided the meat of today's story. But she wanted to see the leading candidate, Ollanta Humala (pronounced O-yanta Oomala), in action.

There was a campaign rally that was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. "Since I know Peru a little, I arrived at 6:30," says Danna wryly. "But even that was too early. At 8 p.m., I was still there - but Humala was not. By that point, I may have interviewed half the people at the rally."

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The candidate arrived about an hour later, but Danna didn't get back to her hotel until nearly midnight. "That's the really hard part of the job. You want to go to sleep and put off writing until the morning. But fear of your editor and missing a deadline kicks in," she says.

Fortunately, Peru has some of the best food in Latin America. Fueled by vast quantities of cerviche and rice, Danna worked into the early morning hours, feeling like she was still in her junior year at Harvard pounding out a term paper for arts and literature class.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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