Reporters on the Job

China daily/Reuters
A MEMORIAL: At a grade school in Lianyungang, China, pupils form a heart and the date of the Sichaun earthquake as China paused Monday to remember the more than 30,000 quake victims.

Welcome to South Africa: When the attacks on foreigners started last week, staff writer Scott Baldauf and his wife were hosting three foreigners in their Johannesburg home. "Two were Zimbabweans whom I had struck up a friendship with on a trip, and one was a Sudanese journalist who has come down to South Africa to polish his English," says Scott.

His Sudanese friend quickly found an apartment. But on Monday, Scott got a call from him. "While he likes his new apartment, he is terrified to go outside because South Africans are attacking Ethiopian shopkeepers on the streets below," Scott says (see story). His Zimbabwean friends couldn't believe that the South African government's answer to the problem was to fire rubber bullets and to call for an expert panel to study the issue. "This country will host a World Cup in 2010, that should be a showcase for Africa, but here they are attacking their fellow Africans," said one of Scott's Zimbabwean friends.

When the Story Comes to You: Staff writer Peter Ford says that his original plan for reporting on the people still living in the Sichuan mountains a week after the earthquake was to hike up in to the hills to find them (see story). "But the fact that the light was fading, it was beginning to rain, and I faced several hours of walking over unstable mud slides dissuaded me," he explains. "It turned out that simply sitting by the side of the road and interviewing the people on their way down from their mountain hamlets yielded the information that I needed. "

The next day, Peter found an easily accessible village where some residents had decided to stay. "Adventurousness," he concludes, "can be taken too far."

David Clark Scott

World editor

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