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Reporters on the Job

Saudi Voting Rights: As a Saudi citizen, correspondent Faiza Saleh Ambah was intrigued by the announcement last October that there would be municipal elections. Then, last month, the details of the elections were made public, but it was never made clear whether women could participate or not.

She thought there might be a story when she started noticing articles in the Saudi papers about the issue by Hatoon al-Fassi, a columnist who is pushing for the women's vote (page 1). "I also saw her interviewed on television. Most people here figured women wouldn't be allowed to vote. As time has gone by, I've become persuaded that they might. If I'm around, it would be great to vote. It would be historic."

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First Draft of History: While reporters often feel that they are contributing to a general first draft of history, contributor Jen Ross says that while covering the saga involving former Chilean strongman Gen. Augusto Pinochet (page 7) she got a profound sense that, in fact, she was witnessing a major historical moment. Jen, who has reported from Canada and England, says it was the first time as a reporter that she ever felt that way.

"The day the decision came down [last month] that stripped Pinochet of his immunity, most people were thinking it was a lost cause," says Jen. "No one was even at the tribunal because they didn't think it would happen.

"When word came down, there was a sense of shock. The families of victims, who had gathered at a separate legal hearing, were crying and hugging in disbelief. I didn't anticipate that emotional outpouring," she says.

David Clark Scott
World editor


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