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Reporters on the Job

Talk to a Priest : In communities where religious tensions are high, a journalist will often have difficulty getting both sides of the story. For today's piece on the conflict over Christian conversions of the lower caste Indians (page 1), staff writer Scott Baldauf says that the Roman Catholic Church was the most helpful. "Two Catholic priests were instrumental in making initial contacts with both evangelical groups and the conservative Hindu groups. One was the parish priest sent to the Catholic school in Jhabua after a Hindu girl was murdered there last year. He was sent as a peacemaker and he was a good bridgebuilder in the community," says Scott.

Another priest, who shared his contacts in India's evangelical community, told Scott that their conversion efforts were dangerous. "But he also said that he admired their courage and the spirit that propelled their efforts," says Scott.

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Beach Beat : When the earthquake struck Indonesia Monday, correspondent Simon Montlake had just returned from a weekend holiday with his wife in Phuket. "We were having dinner on the ground floor of a high-rise in Bangkok when we noticed people were flooding into the street. We hadn't felt the quake but apparently those in the higher floors had felt the building sway," he says.

While in Phuket, he didn't stay on the beach. "My wife chose a hillside villa because it had a nice view and was away from the crowds. We didn't stay there because she was worried about a tsunami," he says. While he was there, he did some of the research for today's story about tourism (this page). "Travel agents had told me that East Asian superstitions and spiritual beliefs were hurting bookings," he says. So Simon walked up and down the beach trying to verify that with some East Asian tourists. "I couldn't find a single Asian. I got a red neck but no interviews."

David Clark Scott
World editor


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