As your eyes and ears on the world, the Deseret News has worldwide resources upon which to draw. And I'm not talking about our sports writers. (We joke a lot about the farflung travels of Lee Benson, Kurt Kragthorpe, etc.)
Via wire services, syndicates and other news agencies, we literally have thousands of reporters all over the globe who report the latest breaking news. (They probably periodically bump into our sports writers. I hope they say hi for me, when they do, because I seldom see our sports reporters - except when they need more travel money.)Back to my topic: Through the miracle of electronics and satellite technology, we daily deliver to your doorstep news that happened that same day in the most distant corners of the world.
But we don't usually have our own reporter in Africa (not even a sports writer). We did, however, have City Desk staffer Jan Thompson in Mali, Africa, for two weeks in March.
I think you'll enjoy the report of her trip, which will appear in Sunday's Deseret News. Might even bring a tear to your eye.
Thompson had a unique, personal, even emotional experience with several other Utah women in Salt Lake City's sister community in northwest Africa.
Her report is not typical journalism. It is not traditional reporting by a detached, impartial observer.
Thompson admits that she broke one of the sacred laws of journalism. She went beyond observing. She became a participant. To not participate, she said, "would have been like trying to walk through a Ouelessebougou village and not get red dust on your shoes." She got involved in the story, became emotionally attached, brushed her inhibitions aside and dove into the work with the other women. And we think her report is the better for it.
Thompson gives us a first-hand account of the first-ever all-female expedition to ease human suffering in this terribly poor, backward, parched Third World region. It is a story, mostly, of the women of Ouelessebougou, and how a half-dozen Utah women tried to help, sister-to-sister. It's quite a story.
Watch for it in Sunday's News Extra on page B1.