Each time we send a writer or a photographer
out into the field, I worry about three things. Will
we get the story? Will it be good enough? And will
the magazine be well represented - will the people
our contributors encounter understand what a premium
we put on responsible journalism, professionalism,
This third point is critical. Over the years, the
Society's writers and photographers have sometimes journeyed
abroad with a fancy letter of introduction, laden with ribbons
and embossments, extolling the qualifications of the bearer and
seeking all possible assistance. But always, people skills have
been more important than paper blandishments. Indeed, TRAVELER'S
reputation rests on the abilities of our contributor-ambassadors
to forge good relationships with the locals they meet.
Take the case of photographer Macduff Everton. We sent him on
short notice to shoot "Home on the Island," writer Karen Connelly's
account last issue of her time spent living on the Greek island
of Lesvos. She had discovered the place as a young adult and
has continued to return there as a sort of temporary expatriate.
After Everton returned home, we received
a note from Connelly. Part of it remarked on our laborious fact-checking
process. "This provided a great deal of fascination/amusement.
(Do I have a cat? What color is it?)" Mostly, though, she dwelt
on the impression Everton had made on her intensely close-knit
community, one not used to American tourists.