August 7th, 2008
03:21 PM ET

Sending out the message from AIDS summit

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/07/art.mexicanaids.jpg caption="A protester stands at the opening ceremony of the XVII International AIDS conference in Mexico City"]
Harris Whitbeck
CNN Correspondent

Twenty-two thousand people from all over the world, gathered in one conference center for a week. All of them have different takes on the AIDS epidemic, and all of them are keen on making their points of view known.

It’s like being a kid in a candy store for a journalist. All these people, all eager to talk to you, all vying for your attention as a representative of the global media.

But that’s what makes covering an AIDS conference so difficult: How do you sort through all the information, all the public relations pitches, all of the staged events to get to the story?

Keep reading

Filed under: AIDS • Harris Whitbeck
April 7th, 2008
06:39 PM ET

Gunfire and mosquito bites


CNN's Harris Whitbeck tours Rio de Janeiro's most violent slum, which is ground zero in the dengue fever epidemic.

The shots rang out just as I had finished greeting a motherly, smiling shopkeeper in front of her storefront in the Caxias district of Rio de Janeiro.  For a brief second, I was taken back to Baghdad, where gunfire at all times of the day or night is commonplace.  As it turns out, it is just as commonplace in the densely populated slums that surround Rio.

I never knew if the shots were fired by police or by the notorious drug gangs that control many of Rio’s slums- I was told gang members have lookouts at the edges of their neighborhoods on the watch for police- and that they fire warning shots to let other gang members know when an incursion is about to take place.


Filed under: Dengue Fever • Harris Whitbeck