• Perceptions of the Press: In the US, the public's ratings of the media have declined, particularly when it comes to credibility, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released in 2005. While local media retain their respect, major national newspapers and news networks have seen a drop.
But correspondent Andrew Downie found that in Brazil, journalists rank up with doctors and clergy in terms of public confidence. He notes that may be largely due to the role the press has played in exposing government corruption during the past year.
Andrew says that Brazilians generally are more open to reporters. And Brazilian journalists in particular are very collegial. "I lived in Mexico for seven years, and I can count on one hand the number of times a Mexican journalist called me back. In Brazil, they call me back, they give me their home and cellphone numbers, and bend over backwards to be helpful. It's a different atmosphere."
• Tickets to Turin: Staff writer Peter Ford is finding it a challenge to get tickets to the 2006 Winter Olympics. There are plenty available, but getting them delivered isn't easy. All the security fuss surrounding the delivery reminds him of the dilemma the South African government faced in 1905 when it decided to send the largest diamond ever found (3,106 carats) to London, as a gift to King Edward VII. "After considering all sorts of options, officials chose to put it in a box, wrapped it up in brown paper, and posted it to England by regular mail. It arrived quite safely and was later cut into diamonds that adorn the British royal scepter and the imperial state crown," he says. But Peter adds, "I don't know whether I would really trust the Italian and French post offices with that sort of treasure today."
David Clark Scott