Reporters on the Job
• Embedded With the Mexican Army: To report the first part of her series on Mexico's new president, staff writer Sara Miller Llana went along on a military operations in Michoacán.
She was the only woman among six journalists invited. But that can have its perks in a macho society. After being deposited on a mountain top, Sara spent a couple of hours hiking with the troops in full sun as they destroyed fields of marijuana. While the other journalists toughed it out, she found herself on the receiving end of a bottle of Gatorade (along with the officers on the mission).
Sweaty, muddy, exhausted, and dehydrated, the journalists ("yes, including me, even after my Gatorade," Sara says) were invited to lunch at the military headquarters in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacán.
"The officers laughed at us for being so worn out by the experience. I arrived late but found a seat waiting for me next to the general in charge of the entire operation. I can only assume that it's because I was the only female there," Sara says.
"I was not really feeling or looking my dinner-party best, and have trouble being charming in English, let alone Spanish, but it turned out to be great fun. The general was singing boleros by the end, and telling me about the music on his iPod. I scored a ride back to Morelia via helicopter (instead of the bus), where he had a meeting with the governor later that afternoon," she says.
David Clark Scott