Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
As Hiro Muramoto headed out the door of the Tokyo newsroom last week, weighed down with TV equipment on his way to Bangkok to cover demonstrations, he flashed a smile at a Reuters colleague.
It was, she remembers, a “Hiro” smile. It was gentle, rather than a broad grin, and it showed the 43-year-old was pleased once again to take his expertise on the road to do his job telling the world what was going on.
Hiro was not the gung-ho war correspondent of the movies. He was a careful, loving married Dad of two and a gentle mentor for young colleagues and an expert story teller.
The story: When a massive earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, Reuters journalists raced to the devastated capital of Port-au-Prince. While Reuters has no bureau in Haiti, we have established long-time freelancers to help on our coverage and we go on assignment there regularly for major stories. Logistics post-earthquake became a challenge as commercial flights into the city were canceled and some of our journalists made their way into the Dominican Republic’s Santo Domingo airport and then journeyed several hours by car to cross the border into Haiti.
The journalists: As you’d expect, our journalists reported on the devastation and witnessed the thousands of dead bodies and the suffering of many more. Behind the scenes, reporting conditions were rough as one of our reporter’s flak jacket and helmet for safety were taken by border guards. Communications was spotty even with satellite phones. Our team was split for the first week between the airport and the Hotel Villa Creole. While the hotel was mostly habitable, for aftershock fears that were later realized, most visitors and journalists chose the safer quarters of sleeping in the open near the hotel’s swimming pool.
from Afghan Journal:
On a hilltop in central Kabul, the relics of Soviet armoured vehicles sit in the shadow of an incongruously vast and empty swimming pool. A tower of diving boards looks down into the concrete carcass built by the Russians. Boys play football there and on Fridays the basin is used for dog fights; combat is the only option for the canine gladiators, as they cannot climb up the sheer, steep sides. From the vantage point you can see the city's graveyards, its bright new mosques, the narco-palaces of drug-funded business potentates and the spread of modest brick homes where most Kabulis live. It's a favourite spot for reporters when they need to escape the press of urgent events and get cleaner air in their lungs.
For years journalists have sought to tell stories that go beyond the conflict in Afghanistan. We've tried to portray this country - the crossroads of central Asia, the summer home of Moghul emperors, the cockpit of clashing empires - as more than a place of blood, deprivation and extremism. Amid the dust and the heat it has its oases of tranquility, its laughter and its charms. From the market stalls of sweet pomengranates that line the road in autumn to the rose gardens newly planted in central Kabul, Afghanistan is a place of thorny history, cultural complexity and spartan beauty.