Reporters on the Job

All Roads Lead to El Alto : In Bolivia's capital city of La Páz, correspondent Bill Faries says that a sense of normalcy has returned (see story). "Stores and restaurants are restocking their shelves. If you ordered a meal during the past 10 days or so, about one-third of the items on the menu weren't available," he says.

Sunday in Bill's neighborhood, cars were lined up around the block waiting to refill gas tanks. But, he notes, if the blockades return, he's not sure where folks would go. "All but one road out of the city goes past El Alto, the poor, indigenous community where many of the protesters come from," Bill says. "If you want to go to the airport, to Chile, or Lake Titicaca, you have to go through El Alto. If El Alto's poor were located anywhere else, they wouldn't be getting this kind of attention."

Sean Penn as Reporter: Staff writer Scott Peterson joined about a dozen journalists on the media platform overlooking the arena at Tehran University, where Friday prayers are held. Listening to the sermon is one way to get a read on the political climate. The ayatollah was telling the faithful to get out the vote (see story). But Scott noticed that his colleagues were not fully focused on the proceedings below. That's because Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn was there, too, on assignment for The San Francisco Chronicle. "It wasn't a shock because I'd seen him in Baghdad before the [2003] war," says Scott.

Mr. Penn wrote in his notebook and spoke at length with his interpreter. "The actor looked up from taking notes, and pointed toward those praying," says Scott, "He admonished the photographers: 'History is being made over there.' "

David Clark Scott
World editor

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