Reporters on the Job

Back to Work: Returning to the earthquake zone in China's Sichuan Province after a 10-day absence, staff writer Peter Ford says he has noticed some signs of a return to normal life (see story).

"People are still living in tents, rather than their homes," he says, "but tent shops have sprung up in the tent cities, the authorities are moving fast on the removal of rubble from collapsed buildings, and most tellingly, people I want to talk to are not always available."

In the first week or so after the earthquake, Peter recalls that everybody he wanted to interview had time to talk, because they had little else to do. Many were homeless and just hanging about.

"But today I called a man who is an activist representing parents who lost a child and found that he could not see me because he was at work," says Peter. "He was homeless and childless, too, but at least he still had a job, and he had to do it."

The Contrarian Approach: Staff writer Sara Miller Llana says that one of the things she appreciates about working for the Monitor is that "I'm often where the rest of the media is not. I love that we cover trends that other media outlets tend to ignore," she says.

But that's not always the easiest way to report. While she covered a recent autonomy vote in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, she was asking political opposition leaders about the involvement of conservatives from other countries. "They seemed kind of annoyed, as if I was really getting off the point of this event. But I kept at it and finally hit pay dirt."

One Bolivian politician replied, "Oh yeah, we're going to pick up the leader of the Venezuelan opposition at the airport right now. "

David Clark Scott

World editor

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