Reporters on the
A CALMING INFLUENCE:
Sometimes journalists are accused of altering events just by showing
up. While Arie Farnam was reporting today's story about Roma and
Czechs building a village of their own (see story), she actually
hoped her presence would be a change agent. Some of the new residents
of the village were from Hrusov, a Romany slum, which had been declared
unsafe and unsanitary by the Czech police. Housing officials had
allowed many Romany residents to stay in the area for four years.
But then, one evening last week, officials told three of the families
they had until 8 a.m. the next morning to vacate.
"I happened to be in town with two Canadian colleagues, and we
decided that the presence of a few journalists might prevent an
escalation of the situation, so we showed up to watch," Arie says.
For a long, tense moment, the housing officials stood watching
the mini-international press corps. Then, a deputy mayor appeared
on the scene and began shouting at the families to leave. They
didn't want to, because they had nowhere to go. The local police
began moving in, and Arie and her colleagues moved closer as well.
"Suddenly, the deputy mayor seemed to catch sight of us," Arie
says. "He pushed his way through the police and stomped away.
Soon the rest of the crowd dispersed quietly." At last check,
the families were still there.
WELL-LUBRICATED MEALS: For today's story about conditions
in Spain's olive country (see story), reporter Otto Pohl came away with a taste
of regional pride. "I had olive oil for breakfast, lunch, and
dinner," he says. The Andalusian standard breakfast fare is a
roll, sliced, toasted, dressed with a tomato slice and drizzled
with olive oil.
But that wasn't enough for Otto. He went to "Juanito," a restaurant
famous for its seven-course olive-oil dinner. "Everything was
fried, dunked, or soaked in extra-virgin oil," he says.
David Clark Scott