Foregin journalists visit Hannibal newspaper

A small group of foreign journalists, in the United States to observe pre-election news coverage and campaigning, visited the Hannibal Courier-Post on Oct. 31. Editor Mary Lou Montgomery told them how her paper handled local, state and national election news.
The U.S. State Department’s Foreign Press Center sponsored the 10-day trip for the visitors. On the day before their Hannibal stop, the foreign journalists attended a morning rally for Sarah Palin.
Tamrat G. Giorgis, managing editor of Fortune in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was surprised by the conduct of those attending rallies.
“I’m amazed by the discipline of the electorate,” he said. “When they go to rallies they line up for hours and there were no disturbances at all.”
He noted the willingness of citizens to discuss their preferences. “All the people are quite free to talk to you. They don’t have any inhibition, any fear of what they would say and the consequences of that,” he said.
He also said the visit dispelled a preconception he had about Barack Obama’s popularity. He said if the whole world were to vote, Obama would enjoy a landslide victory.
“I had that sort of perception when I first came here … and that’s not the case. It’s quite a split,” he said.
Jinan Hussein of the Awan Daily Newspaper in Kuwait said there was high interest in the Middle East about the election.
“Whether it’s Obama or John McCain, we hope there is a new direction with the problems in the Middle East because it’s very important for the Arab countries.”
—Hannibal Courier-Post

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