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Reporters on the Job

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT

• CRISIS AND CHARACTER: Reporter Adam Raney says that he's been both inspired and disappointed by how Argentines respond to the economic crisis. Today's story about the owners of four small businesses illustrates how some are moving forward (page 1). But he's also seen how the crisis pits ordinary people against one another.

"At a recent protest, farmers blocked a major highway in Misiones Province in northern Argentina," says Adam. "The farmers were calling on the the government to help them secure a fairer price for 'yerba mate,' a tea that many Argentines drink on a daily basis. One woman got out of her car sobbing. She begged the farmers to let her pass the roadblock to make it to an important doctor's appointment. The farmers, beaten down by years of unbearably low wages, were firm in their denial. I watched the woman turning her car around and driving off in tears, vainly searching for a detour around the roadblock."

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• GAINING ACCESS: When reporter Richard Mertens started to work on the story about trafficking in women in the Balkans (page 7), he was told that the women wouldn't talk to him. "Some reporters have gotten this story by paying prostitutes, pretending to be clients, and surreptitously interviewing them. I went to the Macedonian police. They directed me to a women's shelter, an old kindergarten on the edge of Skopje," he says.

"They wouldn't let me interview them individually, only as a group. Some were angry and obviously in distress. The younger ones were quiet. But the older ones seemed happy to talk – they seemed bored, and asked me questions about living in the US."

David Clark Scott
World editor


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