Reporters on the Job

Presidential Dead End: Staff writer Sara Miller Llana went back to the US Marine headquarters in Villahermosa, Mexico, to see if she could get on a rescue mission flight. A captain she'd met the day before agreed, but suggested Sara attend Mexican President Felipe Calderón's press conference first. Sara agreed, much to her regret.

"I was ushered to a tent, where there were about 50 Mexican journalists waiting for the president. He was late. After about an hour, I started to question whether this was the best use of my time," she says. "Then, I was told that I could not leave the tent."

Her colleagues were also growing frustrated and conspiracy theories spread. "They wondered if we were purposely brought in there because some other huge story was unfolding (see story). I didn't buy it but I was getting frustrated. There was a huge tragedy outside; we couldn't get any information about it," she says.

Two-and-a-half hours later, the president arrived. No press conference. He walked through the tent with an entourage, including the national journalists who follow him around, while the local press was stuck behind a rope. He paused long enough to answer one question. Later a Mexican columnist told me it was an example of how many Mexicans feel most of the time: hopeless in the face of power."

A Story Rarely Told: Correspondent Donald Kirk began hearing horrific stories of North Korean defectors when interviewing North Korean refugees in China nearly 10 years ago. But it's rare for a North Korean to escape from a political prison and live to tell about it. Shin Dong Hyuk recounted some of his experiences at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents' Club while signing copies of a book that offers the closest look so far of what goes on in the North's gulag system (see story). Shin's experience is all the more unique in that he was born a prisoner and was taught from infancy that he deserved the horrors of prison life

– David Clark Scott

World editor

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