Leitura para o fim-de-semana: a caça ao homem

Este ano, o Pulitzer na categoria de Feature Writing ficou por atribuir. No entanto, havia três candidatos. E bons. Mark Jonhson apresentou um trabalho sobre um grupo de estudantes do primeiro ano de medicina que enfrenta um dos mais duros desafios: a aula de anatomia em que tocam pela primeira vez num cadáver. Scott Farwell contou a história de um vítima de abusos infantis e a forma como ela luta para ter uma vida normal. Por último, Christopher Goffard relata os nove dias em que um ex-polícia se dedicou a uma única coisa: matar aqueles que culpava pelo seu despedimento. Chama-se Manhunt for Christopher Dorner e tem cinco partes.

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A double killing, a vengeful plan, a wave of fear

The man emerged from a charcoal-gray pickup and approached the hotel check-in counter. He wanted a room and the Internet pass code. He was 6 feet tall, with a weightlifter’s build and military posture. But he could transform his soft, round face into a picture of amiability. He struck the night manager as personable and disarming.

Inside Room 116 of the Hi View Inn & Suites in Manhattan Beach, he stared at his Facebook page and a lifetime’s worth of grudges. It is not clear how long he had labored on the unusual document on the screen.

It was a rambling, free-associating screed in which he asserted firm opinions on politicians, journalists, comedians and television shows. It was a brew of hatreds, a sustained cry of self-pity and self-justification, and a blueprint.

One touch of a button would make it public, once people knew where to look.

It was 1:15 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 4.

Click.

Hours earlier, Irvine Police Det. Victoria Hurtado was crouched in the evening chill, studying an enormous diamond ring on a dead woman’s hand. It was one of her first clues. “This is not a robbery,” she thought.

The victim was in the passenger seat of a white Kia Optima, parked on the rooftop lot of an upmarket condo complex on Scholarship Drive. She was Asian, in a pretty blue dress. Beside her, a young black man was slumped over the steering wheel. Both were riddled with bullets, with fatal shots to the back of their heads.

Stepping carefully amid 14 shell casings scattered on the pavement, Hurtado noticed powder burns around the bullet holes in the windows. It was a close-range ambush, and as cold a scene as the detective had seen in 17 years on the force.

There was no evidence of a fight. It was as if the killer, possessed by an impersonal fury, had not known the victims at all.

Hurtado looked up at the high-rise apartments that towered above the garage. Hundreds of people would have had a plain view of the shooting, if they had peered out their windows. Hundreds should have heard it.

Five floors below, news crews were assembling. Murder was startling news in Irvine, which boasted of being America’s safest midsized city — 65 square miles of gleaming corporate parks and master-planned neighborhoods.

Just after midnight, the department received a call. It was from Randal Quan, a retired Los Angeles Police Department captain. He had seen the news and recognized the condo complex. His 28-year-old daughter, Monica, lived there with her 26-year-old fiance, Keith Lawrence.

Quan had grown increasingly worried. He had been trying to call his daughter. She was not answering. He came to the Irvine police station with his wife and grown son. They were a close family. Detectives led them to a private interview room.

Quan described his daughter. He had seen her earlier that day. She had been wearing a blue dress.

Neither Monica Quan nor Keith Lawrence seemed capable of making an enemy.

He had been a security officer at USC. She had coached women’s basketball at Cal State Fullerton.

A few days earlier, Lawrence had asked her to close her eyes as he led her into their condo. He had arranged rose petals on the carpet in the shape of a heart. He knelt and asked her to marry him.

“There’s no one more right for us than each other,” he told her, in a scene captured on tape by her brother. “You are my winning lottery ticket.”

Perhaps because she had grown up as a police captain’s daughter, she was guarded about her personal life, even with the young women she coached. But before a team trip to San Luis Obispo she had displayed the big diamond engagement ring and enjoyed the screams of excitement.

Detectives considered every possible theory. They scoured police logs for reports of road rage, on the chance that an aggrieved driver had followed the young couple home. They talked to neighbors and friends, co-workers and family members.

They asked Randal Quan who might want to hurt his daughter. He had been the first Chinese American captain at the LAPD, and had run a squad targeting Asian gangs. In recent years, he had worked as a lawyer representing cops facing termination.

Did someone hate him enough to do this? Someone he had busted? A disgruntled client?

Quan struggled. He could think of no one. He saw himself as a cop who had been respectful to people he arrested. Even losing clients knew he had fought for them.

No one had heard anything. A police canvas of the condominium complex and surrounding buildings confirmed that baffling fact.

The couple had pulled onto the rooftop during the final dramatic minutes of the Super Bowl, when traffic was light. The entry gate recorded their arrival about 7:30 p.m. But police had not learned about the shootings until 9:10 p.m., when a resident walking to his car spotted a body slumped over the Kia’s steering wheel.

How had 14 shots gone unheard? Had everybody been that fixated on the game?

Det. Hurtado would have to wait for ballistics tests to be sure, but she began to suspect that the killer had used a silencer. It was an expensive piece of equipment, the province of Hollywood spies and assassins, not real-world killers.

The possibility carried with it a sense of dread. Who were they dealing with? A professional hit man? The mob?

As the department’s 18-member detective squad scrambled after leads, an investigator visited Cal State Fullerton and found a compelling clue — its significance clear only in hindsight — that someone had been stalking Monica Quan.

A few days earlier, a man had called the athletic department from a blocked number. He said his daughter played for the women’s basketball team, but he was unable to reach her because her cellphone was not working.

He asked for the name of the hotel the team was using during its trip to San Luis Obispo. The request was refused. Would he care to give a callback number? The man hung up.

O artigo completo está aqui. 

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: Dasani, a criança invisível

Dasani tem 11 anos. É uma das 280 crianças que vive num abrigo com os pais e três irmãos – um deles um bebé. A história dela foi contada de uma forma brilhante por mais um projecto de longform journalism do The New York Times. Não há palavras. É ler. 

Sem nome

“She wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.

Slipping out from her covers, the oldest girl sits at the window. On mornings like this, she can see all the way across Brooklyn to the Empire State Building, the first New York skyscraper to reach 100 floors. Her gaze always stops at that iconic temple of stone, its tip pointed celestially, its facade lit with promise.

“It makes me feel like there’s something going on out there,” says the 11-year-old girl, never one for patience. This child of New York is always running before she walks. She likes being first — the first to be born, the first to go to school, the first to make the honor roll.

Even her name, Dasani, speaks of a certain reach. The bottled water had come to Brooklyn’s bodegas just before she was born, catching the fancy of her mother, who could not afford such indulgences. It hinted at a different, upwardly mobile clientele, a set of newcomers who over the next decade would transform the borough.

Dasani’s own neighborhood, Fort Greene, is now one of gentrification’s gems. Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.

It is no place for children. Yet Dasani is among 280 children at the shelter. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.

Nearly a quarter of Dasani’s childhood has unfolded at Auburn, where she shares a 520-square-foot room with her parents and seven siblings. As they begin to stir on this frigid January day, Dasani sets about her chores.

Her mornings begin with Baby Lele, whom she changes, dresses and feeds, checking that the formula distributed by the shelter is not, once again, expired. She then wipes down the family’s small refrigerator, stuffed with lukewarm milk, Tropicana grape juice and containers of leftover Chinese. After tidying the dresser drawers she shares with a sister, Dasani rushes her younger siblings onto the school bus.

“I have a lot on my plate,” she says, taking inventory: The fork and spoon are her parents and the macaroni, her siblings — except for Baby Lele, who is a plump chicken breast.

“So that’s a lot on my plate — with some corn bread,” she says. “That’s a lot on my plate.”

Dasani guards her feelings closely, dispensing with anger through humor. Beneath it all is a child whose existence is defined by her siblings. Her small scrub-worn hands are always tying shoelaces or doling out peanut butter sandwiches, taking the ends of the loaf for herself. The bond is inescapable. In the presence of her brothers and sisters, Dasani has no peace. Without them, she is incomplete.

Today, Dasani rides the creaky elevator to the lobby and walks past the guards, the metal detector and the tall, iron fence that envelops what she calls “the jail.” She steps into the light, and is met by the worn brick facade of the Walt Whitman projects across the street.

She heads east along Myrtle Avenue and, three blocks later, has crossed into another New York: the shaded, graceful abode of Fort Greene’s brownstones, which fetch millions of dollars.

“Black is beautiful, black is me,” she sings under her breath as her mother trails behind.

Dasani suddenly stops, puzzling at the pavement. Its condition, she notes, is clearly superior on this side of Myrtle.

“Worlds change real fast, don’t it?” her mother says.

In the short span of Dasani’s life, her city has been reborn. The skyline soars with luxury towers, beacons of a new gilded age. More than 200 miles of fresh bike lanes connect commuters to high-tech jobs, passing through upgraded parks and avant-garde projects like the High Line and Jane’s Carousel. Posh retail has spread from its Manhattan roots to the city’s other boroughs. These are the crown jewels of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s long reign, which began just seven months after Dasani was born.

In the shadows of this renewal, it is Dasani’s population who have been left behind. The ranks of the poor have risen, with almost half of New Yorkers living near or below the poverty line. Their traditional anchors — affordable housing and jobs that pay a living wage — have weakened as the city reorders itself around the whims of the wealthy.

Long before Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio rose to power by denouncing the city’s inequality, children like Dasani were being pushed further into the margins, and not just in New York. Cities across the nation have become flash points of polarization, as one population has bounced back from the recession while another continues to struggle. One in five American children is now living in poverty, giving the United States the highest child poverty rate of any developed nation except for Romania.

This bodes poorly for the future. Decades of research have shown the staggering societal costs of children in poverty. They grow up with less education and lower earning power. They are more likely to have drug addiction, psychological trauma and disease, or wind up in prison.

Dasani does not need the proof of abstract research. All of these plights run through her family. Her future is further threatened by the fact of her homelessness, which has been shown, even in short spells, to bring disastrous consequences.

Dasani’s circumstances are largely the outcome of parental dysfunction. While nearly one-third of New York’s homeless children are supported by a working adult, her mother and father are unemployed, have a history of arrests and are battling drug addiction.

Yet Dasani’s trials are not solely of her parents’ making. They are also the result of decisions made a world away, in the marble confines of City Hall. With the economy growing in 2004, the Bloomberg administration adopted sweeping new policies intended to push the homeless to become more self-reliant. They would no longer get priority access to public housing and other programs, but would receive short-term help with rent. Poor people would be empowered, the mayor argued, and homelessness would decline.

But the opposite happened. As rents steadily rose and low-income wages stagnated, chronically poor families like Dasani’s found themselves stuck in a shelter system with fewer exits. Families are now languishing there longer than ever — a development that Mr. Bloomberg explained by saying shelters offered “a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before.”

Just three days before the mayor made that comment at a news conference in August 2012, an inspector at Auburn stopped by Dasani’s crowded room, noting that a mouse was “running around and going into the walls,” which had “many holes.”

“Please assist,” the inspector added. “There is infant in room.”

Dasani was about to start sixth grade at a promising new school. This would be a pivotal year of her childhood — one already marked by more longing and loss than most adults ever see.

A tangle of three dramas had yet to unspool.

There was the question of whether Dasani’s family would remain intact. Her mother had just been reunited with the children on the condition that she and her husband stay off drugs. The city’s Administration for Children’s Services was watching closely. Any slips, and the siblings could wind up in foster care, losing their parents and, most likely, one another.

The family’s need for a home was also growing desperate. The longer they stayed in that one room, the more they seemed to fall apart. Yet rents were impossibly high in the city, and a quarter-million people were waiting for the rare vacancy in public housing. Families like Dasani’s had been leaving the state. This was the year, then, that her parents made a promise: to save enough money to go somewhere else, maybe as far as the Pocono Mountains, in Pennsylvania.

Dasani could close her eyes and see it. “It’s quiet and it’s a lot of grass.”

In the absence of this long-awaited home, there was only school. But it remained to be seen whether Dasani’s new middle school, straining under budget cuts, could do enough to fill the voids of her life.

For children like Dasani, school is not just a place to cultivate a hungry mind. It is a refuge. The right school can provide routine, nourishment and the guiding hand of responsible adults.

But school also had its perils. Dasani was hitting the age when girls prove their worth through fighting. And she was her mother’s daughter, a fearless fighter.

She was also on the cusp of becoming something more, something she could feel but not yet see, if only the right things happened and the right people came along.

O resto do artigo – são cinco partes – está aqui. Boas leituras.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: um ensaio interactivo sobre o Irão

Para além de ganhar um prémio Pulitzer, a grande reportagem interactiva Snow Fall, do The New York Times, está a inspirar a forma como são publicados na Internet textos longos. A Brooklins Institution, um dos mais reputados think thanks de Washington, por exemplo, começou a aplicar os princípios do jornalismo narrativo utilizados em Snow Fall aos ensaios publicados no seu site. E a experiência não podia estar a correr melhor. O primeiro, um texto longo sobre as relações históricas entre o Paquistão, a Índio e o Afeganistão, aumentou em 325% o tempo de permanência dos leitores online. O segundo, sobre o massacre de Sandy Hook, teve um crescimento de 125%. Este é o terceiro texto, publicado no mês passado: Sobre o Irão e o rumo surpreendente que o novo presidente lhe poderá dar. Não coloco o texto online porque a ideia é a experiência ser interactiva.

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O verdadeiro jornalismo de excelência do futuro (próximo)

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A 19 de Fevereiro um grupo de esquiadores e snowboarders reuniu-se na estância de esqui de Stevens Pass, perto de Seatle. Subiram à montanha e, na descida, o grupo dividiu-se em dois. Um deles seguiu por Tunnel Creek. E foi apanhado numa avalanche.

O The New York Times fez uma reconstituição do que aconteceu àquelas 16 pessoas. Assinado por John Branch, o trabalho mistura texto, vídeo, audio, fotografia, infografia e simulações científicas. Dividido em seis partes, Snow Fall, The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, é um trabalho incrível. Jornalismo do melhor que há. A recolha de informação foi feita ao longo de seis meses. Incluiu entrevistas com todos os sobreviventes, as famílias das vítimas, responsáveis da estância, pessoal de emergência médica, cientistas e ainda a consulta de relatórios médicos e policiais. As fontes estão todas identificadas. E uma versão com um epilogo pode ainda ser comprada como um e-book. Por alguma razão o The New York Times é o maior jornal do mundo. Gostava de ver algo semelhante em Portugal. Para já fica aqui o documentário.

As melhores reportagens sobre a posse de armas nos EUA

O massacre da escola de Newtown relançou o debate sobre o negócio das armas nos Estados Unidos. Quem quiser perceber melhor o que está em causa nas diferentes vertentes – direitos, tráfico e legislação – pode espreitar a lista de artigos sobre o tema compilada pela Propublica. Para além disso, o The Daily Beast reuniu também uma série de artigos sobre a tradição de violência com armas de fogo nos Estados Unidos. Mas se tiverem de escolher só um, leiam a peça da The New Yorker, Battleground America, assinada por Jill Lepore e publicada em Abril deste ano. É um exemplo brilhante de jornalismo narrativo. Começa assim:

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“Just after seven-thirty on the morning of February 27th, a seventeen-year-old boy named T. J. Lane walked into the cafeteria at Chardon High School, about thirty miles outside Cleveland. It was a Monday, and the cafeteria was filled with kids, some eating breakfast, some waiting for buses to drive them to programs at other schools, some packing up for gym class. Lane sat down at an empty table, reached into a bag, and pulled out a .22-calibre pistol. He stood up, raised the gun, and fired. He said not a word.

Russell King, a seventeen-year-old junior, was sitting at a table with another junior, Nate Mueller. King, shot in the head, fell face first onto the table, a pool of blood forming. A bullet grazed Mueller’s ear. “I could see the flame at the end of the gun,” Mueller said later. Daniel Parmertor, a sixteen-year-old snowboarder, was shot in the head. Someone screamed “Duck!” Demetrius Hewlin, sixteen, was also shot in the head, and slid under the table. Joy Rickers, a senior, tried to run; Lane shot her as she fled. Nickolas Walczak, shot in his neck, arm, back, and face, fell to the floor. He began crawling toward the door.

Ever since the shootings at Columbine High School, in a Denver suburb, in 1999, American schools have been preparing for gunmen. Chardon started holding drills in 2007, after the Virginia Tech massacre, when twenty-three-year-old Seung-Hui Cho, a college senior, shot fifty-seven people in Blacksburg.

At Chardon High School, kids ran through the halls screaming “Lockdown!” Some of them hid in the teachers’ lounge; they barricaded the door with a piano. Someone got on the school’s public-address system and gave instructions, but everyone knew what to do. Students ran into classrooms and dived under desks; teachers locked the doors and shut off the lights. Joseph Ricci, a math teacher, heard Walczak, who was still crawling, groaning in the hallway. Ricci opened the door and pulled the boy inside. No one knew if the shooter had more guns, or more rounds. Huddled under desks, students called 911 and texted their parents. One tapped out, “Prayforus.”

From the cafeteria, Frank Hall, the assistant football coach, chased Lane out of the building, and he ran off into the woods.

Moments later, four ambulances arrived. E.M.T.s raced Rickers and Walczak to Chardon’s Hillcrest Hospital. Hewlin, Parmertor, and King were flown by helicopter to a trauma center at MetroHealth Medical Center, in Cleveland. By eight-thirty, the high school had been evacuated.

At a quarter to nine, police officers with dogs captured Lane, about a mile from the school.

“I hate to say it, but we trained for exactly this type of thing, a school emergency of this type,” Dan McClelland, the county sheriff, said.

Danny Parmertor died that afternoon. That evening, St. Mary’s Church opened its doors, and the people of Chardon sank to their knees and keened. At the town square, students gathered to hold a vigil. As night fell, they lit candles. Drew Gittins, sixteen, played a Black Eyed Peas song on his guitar. “People killin’, people dyin’,” he sang. “People got me, got me questionin’, Where is the love?”

Russell King had been too badly wounded. A little after midnight, doctors said that they couldn’t save him.”

O resto está aqui. Vale mesmo a pena.

As bolas de fogo humanas do Tibete

@Tsering Topgyal, AP

@Tsering Topgyal, AP

Há 15 anos, o mundo assistiu à primeira imolação contra a ocupação chinesa do Tibete. Foi na colónia de refugiados de Majnu ka Tilla, a norte de Delhi. O homem chamava-se Thupten Ngodup. No dia seguinte foi visitado pelo Dalai Lama no hospital Ram Manohar Lohia. O líder espiritual tibetano aproximou-se e disse-lhe ao ouvido: “Não passe para o outro lado com ódio aos chineses no coração. Você é corajoso e marcou a sua posição, mas não deixe que o ódio seja o seu motivo”. O homem assentiu. Poucos dias depois, morreu.

Naquela época, a imolação era um acto raro. Só em Fevereiro de 2009 outro tibetano agiu da mesma forma. O seguinte foi em Março de 2011. E desde então, os números não têm parado de aumentar: mais de 80 tibetanos auto-imolaram-se em protesto contra a ocupação do seu país. É uma das maiores ondas da história. Feitas por monges, freiras e pessoas comuns. Cada vez mais, no interior do Tibete – de onde pouca informação escapa.

Em Novembro, Jamphel Yeshi decidiu seguir o exemplo de Thupten Ngodup. O então presidente chinês, Hu Jintao, estava de visita à Índia. A comunidade tibetana estava a organizar uma marcha de protesto. Na véspera, o jovem tibetano comeu em casa com seis amigos. Falaram da visita, da manifestação e da situação no tibete. No dia seguinte, Jamphel Yeshi acordou cedo. Foi ao templo, regressou a casa, enrolou uma bandeira tibetana ao corpo e saíu. Deixou o telemóvel em casa. Apanhou o autocarro, conversou com amigos, saboreou a brisa que corria no autocarro. A certa altura, afastou-se. Regou o corpo com gasolina e ateou-lhe fogo. Depois correu. Caiu antes de chegar ao meio da multidão. Sozinho, levantou-se e voltou a dar mais cinco dezenas de passos antes de voltar a tombar. Os seus gritos ecoaram pelas ruas de Delhi. E morreu. A sua história – publicada pela National Geographic – é um exemplo de bom jornalismo. Ficam aqui os primeiros parágrafos do texto Tibet’s Man on Fire escrito por Jeffrey Bartholet:

@Manish Swarup, AP

@Manish Swarup, AP

“At the time he decided to set fire to himself, Jamphel Yeshi was living in theTibetanrefugee colony of Majnu ka Tilla, on the northern outskirts of Delhi. The colony was first settled in 1963, four years after the Dalai Lama escaped to India from advancing Chinese forces. The early residents built thatched huts and made a living brewing and sellingchang, a traditional Tibetan barley-and-wheat alcohol. As refugees from the roof of the world, they were unaccustomed to the heat and humidity of the low-lying plain. They had no idea how long they’d be staying but imagined they’d return home soon.

Today, about 4,000 people live in the colony, which has been overtaken by the city: A busy thoroughfare runs alongside it, and Indian neighborhoods have grown up nearby. New construction in the colony is illegal, yet ragged workers continue to dig foundations, carrying rubble and dirt in handwoven baskets balanced on their heads and dumping their contents on the nearby banks of the YamunaRiver. They navigate a warren of multistory buildings, a shambolic jumble of several hundred homes with colored prayer flags fluttering from the rooftops. The alleyways, many just wide enough for two pedestrians to pass, are populated by crimson-robed monks and nuns, mangy dogs and barefoot kids, activists and drifters, petty merchants, and beggars with missing or mangled limbs who offer a broad smile and warm thanks for receiving the equivalent of 20 cents. A Tibetan far from home can enjoy familiar scents and tastes here: salty butter tea, steamed dumplings, Tibetan bread and biscuits.

Jamphel Yeshi—Jashi to his friends—lived with four other Tibetan men in a one-room, windowless apartment they rented for the equivalent of $90 a month. The entrance to the room is through a tiny kitchen area, which is separated from the sleeping quarters by a threadbare curtain in a Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck motif. Jashi’s mattress still lies on the floor in a corner, below posters of the Dalai Lama and other senior lamas. His mattress and four others form a U-shape around the perimeter of the room, which is illuminated by three fluorescent tubes. A thin cabinet still holds many of Jashi’s books, including several well-thumbed collections on Buddhism, Tibetan politics, and history. During the day, the men would store their personal belongings in two tiny alcoves. Jashi’s small nylon suitcase remains where it was when he was alive, holding most of what he owned, including three ID cards, two plastic pens, two rosaries, four cotton sweaters, four pairs of pants, a vest, a scarf, a green and a red string, and a small Tibetan flag.

On the night before he set himself on fire, Jashi was in a cheerful mood. Two friends were visiting from the town of Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama and seat of the Tibetan government in exile, about 300 miles from Majnu ka Tilla. It was Lobsang Jinpa’s turn to cook that evening, but he had become distracted at a cybercafé. Jashi called Jinpa on his mobile phone and ribbed him: “Have you forgotten that you have to make dinner? You’ve become very popular in Dharamsala; maybe you’re too big too cook for us now!” Jinpa rushed back; by the time he arrived Jashi had already washed and cut the vegetables.

Jinpa cooked thenthuk, a traditional Tibetan dish of noodles, vegetables, and mutton. “No one said it was tasty, but everyone ate it,” recalls Jinpa, a former political prisoner who escaped Tibet in 2011. “Jashi ate very well.” The seven young men who gathered that evening talked about the upcoming visit by Chinese premier Hu Jintao and about a protest that was to take place the following day in downtown Delhi against Chinese rule. At one point, Jashi took off his shirt and flexed his muscles, showing off the dragon tattoos on his arms and joking about his physique.

As he often did, Jashi woke early the next morning, before any of his roommates. He first went to the Buddhist temple in Majnu ka Tilla to help serve tea to people attending prayers. Then he returned to the room, where he picked up a small backpack and a large Tibetan flag. He neatly folded his blanket and propped a book by the Dalai Lama and another on Tibetan history on top, so the arrangement resembled an altar. He roused his cousin, Tsering Lobgyal, to tell him he was leaving his mobile phone at home to recharge. If anyone called, Lobgyal should answer it. Then he went to board one of five buses taking protestors to the rally.

As Jashi passed again through the temple square, a friend asked why he was dressed in long sleeves and carrying a pack—it was too hot for that. Another joked about the large flag billowing off his back. “Superman!” the friend yelled as Jashi trotted past. Boarding the bus, Jashi met yet another friend and neighbor, Kelsang Dolma, who was going to the rally with her two-year-old son. Everyone had been talking about an unprecedented series of self-immolations in Tibet since March 2011 and wondering if Tibetans might set fire to themselves at the Delhi protest. Dolma patted the pack on Jashi’s back and joked, “Is this your petrol? Don’t set it on fire!”

Jashi smiled.”

@Jeff Bartholet

@Jeff Bartholet

O arrepio na espinha

De vez em quando tropeçamos em histórias assim. Há 25 anos, Saroo, um rapaz de cinco anos, entrou num comboio em Khandwa, na Índia, com o irmão, para pedir esmola numa cidade vizinha. Na estação de comboios, adormeceu. Quando acordou, o irmão tinha desaparecido. Saroo entrou noutra composição, com a esperança de o voltar a ver. Mas quando o comboio voltou a parar, estava a mais de 1500 km de distância, em Calcutá, perdido, numa região do subcontinente indiano em que ninguém falava o seu dialecto. Por sorte foi parar a um centro de acolhimento que o entregou a uma família adoptiva na Austrália. Aí, Saroo encontrou numa nova vida. Longe da pobreza da sua família biológica, aprendeu inglês, fez amigos, foi para a universidade e arranjou uma namorada. Mas nunca esqueceu as suas origens. À noite deitava-se a pensar em como estariam a sua mãe e os seus irmãos. A certa altura começou a passar as noites em frente ao computador a tentar encontrar no google maps as imagens que guardava de recordação da infância: uma estação de comboios, uma queda de água, uma fonte, um cinema. Passaram-se anos. Até que, finalmente, conseguiu.

AP Photo/Saurabh Das

Este é apenas um lado de uma história incrível contada pelos jornalistas da Associated Press, Kristen Gelineau e Ravi Nessman. Em Saroo Brierley reunited with mother Fatima after 25 years, os dois repórteres elevam bem alto os padrões do jornalismo narrativo. Através as suas palavras sente-se o medo, a angústia, a tristeza que uma mãe e um filho experimentam quando estão separados e sem esperança de se voltarem a encontrar.  Mas também a alegria do reencontro, o nó no estômago da incerteza em relação ao futuro. Sente-se o arrepio na espinha das grandes histórias. A necessidade de saber o que aconteceu a seguir. No fundo, são textos assim escritos que fazem do jornalismo uma das mais belas profissões do mundo.