Reporters on the Job

Burmese face painting: The bark of the thanaka tree is ground into a paste that women and children apply to their faces in patterns.

China Quake Cuts Red Tape: One of the aspects of covering the earthquake in Sichuan that has struck staff writer Peter Ford most forcefully is how open Chinese officials – normally tight-lipped and suspicious of journalists– are being.

"Seeking the colonel in charge of fire brigade rescue efforts in Dujiangyan, I stopped by a fire station in the provincial capital of Chengdu to see how I might find her," Peter says. "I was given her mobile phone number, and when I rang it she agreed to see me immediately."

He was surprised. That meeting led to today's story about the rescue of a man trapped in a fallen building.

"Normally you have to put in your questions in triplicate to the propaganda department a month before you want an interview with someone in that kind of job, and then they turn you down," he says. "It seems that questions of life and death trump bureaucratic public information rules."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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