WHEN PEOPLE PUBLISHED ITS FIRST issue more than 23 years ago, our not so far-flung newsgathering organization consisted of one lonely correspondent in Washington. Within a year we added bureaus—one person apiece—in London, Los Angeles and San Francisco; other bureaus were later set up in Chicago, Houston, Miami and New York City. And there our correspondents toiled, sending accounts of the world's gritty and glamorous personalities back to writers and editors in New York. It has taken us more than two decades, but two weeks ago we finally assembled all of our correspondents, now 33 in number, in New York for a few days of seminars and schmoozing. To no one's surprise, they discovered they had plenty in common.
For one thing, the job requires a limber mind. An L.A. correspondent can be on the set of a movie one day and in, say, a Santa Monica courthouse the next. A Chicago reporter may follow a story in the Cook County Hospital ER with one in the Chicago Bulls locker room. "I cover everything from Prince Felipe in Spain to Dolly the cloned lamb in Scotland," says London correspondent Nina Biddle.
The correspondents are as diverse as their assignments. Most came up through the ranks of journalism, but one worked as a commercial fisherman, and another was a stand-up comic. Nearly a quarter are ethnic minorities, two have law degrees, and many are published authors. What really unites them is their ability to bring sensitivity, good judgment and hard work to all that they do. Story for story, page after page, they are the best reporting staff in America.
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