Reporters on the Job

The Sounds of Dublin: Even if he had not been on the lookout for foreign workers on his visit to Dublin earlier this week, Peter Ford could hardly have missed the transformation that has come over the city's sidewalks since his last trip to Ireland six years ago.

"The last time I was there, the place was almost uniformly white indigenous Irish," Peter recalls. "This week, in a five-minute walk up O'Connell Street, I saw people from Somalia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, China, Poland, Romania, and Lithuania."

The new mixture makes taxi rides a bit more varied too. "You still get drivers playing tapes of fiddles and pipes, but all the way out to the airport I was treated to Bob Marley's 'Rastaman Vibrations' by my South African driver," he says.

Debatable Tactics in Mexico: Staff writer Danna Harman gathered at the home of one of her media colleagues to watch Mexico's presidential debate. She was struck by how stiff and unfamiliar the candidates seemed with the format. Each was given the questions ahead of time, and arrived with charts and props.

"This is a country that's just starting to experience a multiparty democracy. The whole concept of engaging one another in debate is new. Clearly they'd had coaching, perhaps from US campaign consultants," she notes. Danna and her colleagues agreed that the best performance was by Patricia Mercado, of the Alternative Social-Democratic and Farmers Party, a relatively minor party.

"One of the most interesting aspects of the evening occurred off camera," says Danna. "Just as the PAN candidate Felipe Calderón Hinojosa was presenting his closing argument, the phone rang in the house. It was someone from Roberto Madrazo Pintado's campaign - part of a dirty-tricks campaign to distract viewers."

David Clark Scott
World editor

cultural snapshot
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