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Reporters on the Job

Cultural snapshot

SAMARITANS OF RIO: Reporter Andrew Downie, a Scot, went into the story about the world's friendliest city with an admitted bias (page 1). "Scotland is, of course, the kindest place on the planet. But none of the cities in Scotland were included in the study."

Still, as a resident of Rio de Janeiro, Andrew agrees with the No. 1 ranking based on personal experience.

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"I dropped a phone bill once here and someone picked it up and called me to let me know they'd found it.

"I regularly see people stopping to help sick people on the streets, or at least converse with them and find out what's wrong," he says. "There is even a dialogue between street kids and the people they hassle for money."

"Just today I was limping home from an interview and came to a crosswalk. The woman ahead of me turned, noticed my injury, and gently warned me to take note of the car coming from my left.

"There is something special about this place," he adds.

ONCE MORE WITH FEELING: For today's story setting up the Aqaba summit, the Monitor's Cameron Barr this week paid a visit to the Ramallah offices of one of the Palestinian security forces to witness a training session.

He watched Palestinian security men practice storming a building and detaining demonstrators - again and again. It wasn't that the men needed the practice; they seemed fairly good at running through the scenarios. But alongside Cameron was a Swedish documentary filmmaker, who asked the Palestinians to repeat their routines so he could shoot them from more than one angle. The Palestinians seemed eager to oblige.

"Once again," says Cameron, "I was reminded that television journalism is not like print."

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David Clark Scott
World editor