Reporters on the Job

The Real Thing: Staff writer Peter Ford found it hard to persuade many people to talk to him about the mysterious beating death of a man who may or may not have been a reporter in China's coal- mining heartlands (see story). But the most brazen refusal came from the Datong city official in charge of a new campaign against "fake journalists" (which is what officials call the beating victim). This bureaucrat, reached by phone, said he would not talk to Peter "because I don't know if you are a real journalist; you might be a fake."

"My offer to go to the man's office and show him my official Chinese Foreign Ministry press accreditation was, none too politely, turned down," Peter says.

Take a Closer Look: Reporter Nick Squires encountered a deeply divided town when he visited Tamworth, Australia. While many locals are sympathetic toward the idea of accepting Sudanese refugees, others launched into tirades against the Africans (see story). "Perhaps if they met some of the Sudanese face to face they might change their opinions," says Nick. "One of the men I interviewed, Diktor Malok, was reading an autobiography of Australia's recently retired army chief of staff. That made a big impression on me – here was a man who barely spoke English a couple of years ago, learning about one of the heroes of his adopted home."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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