Pidgeons in Zimbabwe
Peter Cave in Johannesburg talks on Correspondents Report, an ABC Radio National programme, about how journalists get the story out of difficult spots like Zimbabwe. Pidgeons appear to be the key,
Often the only way to get a story out of a difficult spot was to use a Pidgeon – a tourist, diplomat or even a pilot willing to hand carry it out… Today’s journalist carries a satellite transmitter the size of a paperback book which can send words, pictures and sound directly through the ether to the internet. Digital recorders can be no bigger than a packet of chewing gum and broadcast quality cameras can be no bigger than the palm of your hand. A notebook computer can be an editing suite, a broadcast studio or a photo lab.
Unlike the great journalist Henry Stanley who had to beat his way through the jungle enduring unbearable hardships for months on end to deliver the words “Dr Livingstone I presume,” today’s journalists only have to catch a plane to Victoria Falls, Bulawayo, or even the capital Harare, posing as tourists or businessmen. Some have driven in from South Africa, Zambia or Botswana where plenty of cross border traders are happy to smuggle in their gear for just a few dollars.
Some enterprising organisations even sent their reporters in weeks or months ago, leaving them there in tourist resorts or hunting lodges as sleepers, ready to spring into action when necessary. link via Mahler’s prodigal son