Reporters on the Job

John Vizcaino/Reuters
Actors are suspended over the stage in the play "Rain of Violins" at the Ibero-American Theater Festival in Bogotá, Colombia.

Cross-border Car Culture: Traveling from Mexico City to the US-Mexico border city of Ciudad Juárez, staff writer Sara Miller llana was immediately struck by two US imports: high prices and a car culture. "When I jumped into my first taxi it cost $25 for a 20-minute ride. In Mexico City, the same ride would be $7 tops," she says.

Sara enjoys walking. After she interviewed one woman who was from one of the poorest neighborhoods in Ciudad Juarez, she suggested that they walk home together. "I wanted to get a feel for her life. She lived five blocks from her work," she says. But the woman declined, telling Sara that she was driving home. "I couldn't believe it; you would never see that in Mexico City. According to one local, 1 of every 3 residents of Ciudad Juárez has a car."

Dinner but No Passage: Foreign reporters have had enormous difficulty covering the recent outbreaks of Tibetan unrest, staff writer Peter Ford says, because the Chinese police have blocked the roads. But Peter and other journalists have been struck by how polite the police have been. Firm, but polite.

When Peter was stopped at a tollbooth and told he could go no farther, he called the Foreign Ministry, whose officials have helped journalists in similar situations in the past. While he waited to hear back from them he was invited into the highway police station and offered a seat in front of the TV as he recharged his mobile phone.

"When I realized that the Foreign Ministry was powerless, and decided to leave, the police official in charge was very upset with me," Peter says. "He had asked the station cook to prepare a meal for me, and I was not staying to eat it. I apologized, but made it clear I would have preferred the opportunity to do my job to a free supper."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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