Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Reuters and the news cycle

I was having an interesting chat the other day in Paris about how many correspondents (foreign) the NYT have (28) and how many Reuters have (c2,200)and as a result how Reuters did a pretty stand up job of reporting what happened yesterday, but also have the resources to go off the news and break out from the news cycle.

I told the same thing to a senior IHT editor who wasn't very complimentary about Reuters journalists (too young, too inexperienced was the general point made), but I did point out that if Reuters were so crap how come about two thirds of the content on
www.iht.com - a global news site - is coming from Reuters? Clearly someone at the NYT Company rates their content, if not, why dish it up?

I also posted yesterday about the nascent Global News Enterprise - which aims to field c70 foreign correspondents.

Anway, two points:

Here's a nice example from the IHT with a Reuters correspondent going off the news (see below).

The other great thing about their people, largely, is that you know what?

They're not white, they're not American, they don't have names like Dexter and Steven and they actually come from the communities they report on.

Which I guess is kind of handy.

If you'd like a sense of how much IHT content comes from Reuters check out my own version of the IHT at www.aplaceintheauvergne.blogspot.com

There you will see something called narrative and story, but you'll also see by looking at the article links provided, how many of the articles come from Reuters. A lot more than NYT/IHT.

Little holiday joy in Gaza but tunnellers thrive
Monday, September 29, 2008
By Nidal al-Mughrabi

There was little joy in the Gaza Strip on Monday as the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan drew to a close and 1.5 million Palestinians scraped together their meagre resources to celebrate the feast of Eid al-Fitr.
Sealed off by Israel since it pulled out troops and Jewish settlers three years ago, and now run by the Islamist group Hamas, Gaza displays classic symptoms of a land under siege.
Border crossings to Israel and Egypt are as good as closed. No freighters anchor off the Mediterranean shore. Israel controls, and has shut down, air and sea approaches. Goods are scarce, prices high, and smuggling thrives no matter the danger.
At least 43 people have been killed this year in the collapse of secret tunnels to Egypt that provide a precarious lifeline for traders and intrepid travellers with cash to spare.
"The crossings have been closed and the siege has been tightened and there is no other way," said Sami Bashir, foreman of a tunnelling crew.
"Without the tunnels we would have been strangled by the Israeli siege," said clothing merchant Khaled Adna.
Tunnelling has flourished since Hamas took over in Gaza in a week-long Palestinian civil war last year and the Israeli blockade hardened. There are hundreds of makeshift earthworks barely concealed behind tents along the border.
A six-month cease-fire agreed in June by Hamas and Israel permits limited trade of mostly food and tiny amounts of construction materials. Hamas and its allies have largely held off firing rockets into Israel. Israel has held off its raids.
Gaza markets were crowded ahead of Eid but demand was weak and choice very limited, merchants and buyers agreed.
"Faced with a choice between buying new clothes or food for their children, people buy food," said Ehab Qassem, a 25-year-old university student selling clothes in Palestine Square. "The mood is not joyful, it is sad and tragic."
As with other dates in the Muslim lunar calendar, the end of the Ramadan fast and start of the Eid feast is timed according to sightings of the moon. It may be as early as Monday evening.
Residents of Gaza blame their predicament in part on the deep split in Palestinian ranks, between Hamas and the secular Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He runs the Israeli-occupied West Bank, about an hour's drive to the west of Gaza -- if such a drive were possible for local people.
"The two sides should be ashamed of themselves," said Ibrahim Abu Amra, an employee of the Health Ministry.
"They should sit together and form a unity government. Unless they do that, we will get lost, the Palestinian people will get lost," said Abu Amra, a father of seven.
Israel tightened the blockade after Hamas, which wants to destroy the Jewish state and had led a government after winning an election in 2006, routed Fatah forces in June 2007. Political and social divisions have since worsened. Failing a breakthrough in unity talks sponsored by Cairo there may be further violence.
Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman conducted separate talks with the two sides throughout September. He met Fatah last week and will see Hamas officials on October 8. A Fatah official said on Monday that all factions may convene in Cairo on November 4.
"Either Hamas and Fatah are reconciled this time or we may be going to hell," commented Gaza taxi driver Ali Hassan.
Meanwhile, the tunnellers get rich. It costs about $250 (139 pounds) to traverse approximately 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) underground from Gaza to the Sinai border zone, or $1,000 for the VIP tunnel fare which includes electric lighting and a mobile phone signal.
"The typical caller is probably saying: 'I'm half-way through and I'm still alive'" joked one Gaza resident.
Gaza's border with Egypt is only 14 km long (9 miles), coming inland from the sea, and the tunnel builders make no great effort to conceal their diggings. Gazans say Egyptian officials take their cut of the underground trade in bribes.
As with its conventional border crossing at Rafah, Egypt has come under pressure from Israel also to close the tunnels down, and Hamas has accused Egypt of causing the deaths of several Palestinians by pumping gas into the tunnels or blowing them up.
Bashir, supervising diggings at a tunnel, said his crew knows the risks: "They have no choice," he said.
"There is no work in Gaza and death is a destiny and it will not happen until someone's time is up."



International Herald Tribune
New York Times

Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

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