Reporters on the Job
• Into the Floodwaters: While 80 percent of the Mexican state of Tabasco was under water, the main airport was open. But when staff writer Sara Miller Llana landed Saturday, she discovered that the easiest part of her assignment was over. "I didn't quite realize how hard it would be to move from the airport," she notes.
Sara had contributed to coverage of hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and there she was able to move around the edges of the major flooding. But in Tabasco, huge chunks of the city are cut off from other parts, including the airport. Sara and a stranded CNN cameraman worked to find a solution.
"After being told countless times that we'd never get to the city, we finally hopped a ride on a Mexican military helicopter, which took us to their central command center. From there (hauling all of his nine suitcases of camera equipment), the Marines commander said a military truck could take us into the city," she says.
Five hours after landing, Sara was ready to go to work. "While the police refused to help, the military went out of their way to help us be able to do our jobs (see story). We tried to give the marines who dropped us off some money for gas and all their effort. They refused. I was awed by their generosity," she says.
• Playing Through Pakistan's Crisis: To get today's story about Pakistan's martial law, reporter Sahan Mufti worked from Pakistan, while staff writer Mark Sappenfield worked the phones from his office in India. Two calls offer a revealing portrait. "One of my calls was answered by a woman who was under house arrest; another was answered by a man playing out of a sand trap on an Islamabad golf course. The woman – a lawyer and a Musharraf critic – was a political target," says Mark. But the man was perhaps a better gauge of the mood in Pakistan. Sunday was normal enough for a spot of golf. "I'm often struck by how little relevance the government and politics seems to have to the every day life of people in Pakistan," he says. "The source, by the way, saved par, for which I took full credit."
– David Clark Scott