Reporters on the Job

A SENSE OF FAMILY: Today's story about AIDS orphans, by reporter Mike Crawley, is near to his heart (page 1). He went to Kenya knowing that AIDS was a serious issue in Africa. "I knew that it was a big problem for adults, but I had no clue about how devastating it has been to families," he says. "You see the children here, and you realize how great the need is." A friend adopted an AIDS orphan, and that got him thinking about it. Earlier this year, Mike and his girlfriend visited several orphanages and spoke with a social worker about the adoption process.

"I'm not really the type of person who believes individual charitable acts will solve problems like this, but the need is so compelling that I felt I couldn't ignore it." At the moment, he says, "it's not the right time for us to adopt a child. But I do believe that family is not just about biological offspring."

SPIN CONTROL: Fred Weir's story today about the Russian media (this page), was partly prompted by an unusual call from the Kremlin. "The press official was very pleasant, and wasn't critical of the piece the Monitor had just run (July 10) about the risks of raising the Kursk, the Russian nuclear sub that sank in the Arctic last year. But it was clearly on his mind," says Fred. "Perhaps your correspondent would like to familiarize himself a little better with the technology" used for the sub-raising exercise, he suggested, and invited Fred to visit the Sevmash works, a top-secret military shipyard that builds atomic submarines for the Russian Navy.

"Until very recently, Russian government reaction to foreign press coverage, if any, could be expected to arrive as a dark and muttering commentary on an official news outlet about the 'anti-Russian bias' of the international media. Direct Kremlin engagement with journalists has been exceedingly rare," says Fred.


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