Reporters on the Job
• Guitar Culture: Reporter Monica Campbell already had a guitar (a Martin acoustic purchased in New York City). But she couldn't resist the urge to buy another while in Paracho, Mexico (page 7). "It was a real bargain. I paid $100 for what would easily cost $300 in the US. The receipt is beautifully handwritten, giving the six types of wood used. I will keep that receipt for the rest of my life," she says.
Monica was also taken by the ambiance of the town. "Every shop had musicians from all over Mexico in them. There was this 11-year-old who skateboarded right into the shop like Bart Simpson. He was the grandson of the shop owner. As I was interviewing his grandmother, the boy pulled out his guitar. Family members were milling around, but everyone went quiet when he started playing a piece by a Spanish composer. It lasted about 20 minutes. No one moved. He made me realize the guitar culture of Paracho there went far beyond the commercial element. It was a real moment."
• Long Easter Drive: Staff writer Abraham McLaughlin drove three hours each way on Sunday to see South African president Thabo Mbeki give a speech, hoping it would be relevant to Wednesday's election story (page 1). There was little usable content from the speech. "He uttered only about five paragraphs. But the setting and cultural experience was worth the drive," says Abe. "Every Easter about 2 million members of the Zionist Christian Church gather in a remote town called Moria for a pilgrimage. It's southern Africa's biggest annual religious event. As I looked out over the valley, church members in their uniforms stretched as far as I could see."
David Clark Scott