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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 19:21 GMT 20:21 UK
A reporter's life at the Summit
Anything to liven up the conference centre

For members of the media assigned to cover this week's Group of Eight (G8) Summit in western Canada, it is the same old routine.

While world leaders meet in secluded quarters some distance away from the press, reporters head for the nearest convention centre, waiting for something to happen.


Calgary, a town so polite that jaded journalists from New York and Washington are out of their depth here

It is a scenario drawn out time and time again, whether it is Denver, the site of the last US G8 Summit in 1997, New York, for this year's "Davos on Broadway" meeting, or last year's Summit of the Americas in Quebec City.

The strict structure of the high-level meetings means covering these high-profile events can be a rather sterile affair.

But there are perks - free food for one. Goody bags and special media parties are another.

So it may be, with this year's G8 conference a scant 30 hours in length, that reporters, cameramen and even interns will mourn the meeting's quick passing.

Tight security

This is the first such gathering of the G8 leaders since the terror attacks of 11 September and security is tight.

Security checks and barriers are everywhere
Security checks and barriers are everywhere
All that means for the media - and protesters - is that the world leaders are just that much farther away.

Instead of a mere few miles, the G8 leaders have decamped 60 miles west of the media headquarters in the centre of Calgary to the remote village of Kananaskis, high in the Canadian Rockies.

Journalists are used to being kept at a distance, and they are also used to tight security.

That includes the need to regularly produce credentials and to be X-rayed from head to toe several times a day.

Waiting game

Nevertheless, one can't help but think the hordes of Canadian Mounted Police and other law enforcement personnel amounts to overkill.

Protesters wore heads of world leaders
Protesters wore heads of world leaders
After all, this is Canada.

Furthermore, it's Calgary, a town so polite that jaded journalists from New York and Washington are out of their depth in dealing with the kindnesses afforded to them by - gasp! - total strangers.

The throng of security men was enough for one reporter to ask "what exactly are they protecting us from?"

Who knows? So far, what protests have emerged along the well-patrolled and neatly swept streets of Calgary have been a lark.

Demonstrators were dolled up in giant papier-mache likeness of the heads of state representing the world's richest countries - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia and the United States.

So well done were they, that the mock-ups were nearly flattering.

But for the blood-hungry media, it was a bit of a let down.

In the meantime, reporters remain holed up in the Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary, awaiting dribs and drabs of news to be broadcast over dozens of television screens, in the hopes of reporting something exciting - or at least news.


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24 Jul 01 | Americas
14 Jun 02 | Middle East
13 Jun 02 | Americas
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