Reporters on the Job

Shopping with Boris Yeltsin: Correspondent Fred Weir followed the Russian leader, Boris Yeltsin, since his early days as the popular mayor of Moscow.

"I accompanied his media entourage to visit a Soviet grocery shop one day in early 1987. Mr. Yeltsin was aware that a shipment of choice meat cuts had been delivered to that shop, so he walked in and demanded to buy some," says Fred.

"Of course, the staff had already stolen all the meat, so they just stood there looking terrified while flashbulbs popped and Yeltsin lectured them. People loved that sort of thing, and it made his reputation as a populist. He was a master of political theater, and even at tough moments, like the '91 coup, when he stood up on a tank, could pull it off brilliantly." (see story)

Into the Suburban Bush: Staff writer Scott Baldauf turned to a former Zimbabwe Army sergeant to introduce him to soldiers who have recently arrived from Zimbabwe (see story). "He tells me they are living out 'in the bush.' So I pick him up and ask him for directions to 'the bush,' which is a South African term for the countryside," says Scott. "I'm thinking lions and tigers and bears. Oh my."

Scott found himself back in his own upscale Johannesburg neighborhood. " 'This is it,' he says, "taking me past a nice mall where I shop. We park the car and walk into an abandoned lot. I must have been less than a kilometer from my house, and walked past 100 people of at least three different language groups: Ethiopians. Mozambicans. And Zimbabweans," says Scott. "Until this time, I had always had pity on the poor folk who live in tin shacks in the townships of Soweto and Diepsloop, Soshanguwe, and the Cape Flats. But now I had found people who have it worse - and they're my neighbors."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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