Correspondent / behind the news

Behind the image

Garcia Marquez on his 87th birthday, March 6, 2014, in Mexico. (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

When “Gabo” would ask me for a yellow rose

A giant of international literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died April 17, was also a journalist. In the 1970s, he founded the Alternativa magazine, which would go on to inform a generation of Colombian activists before it closed under a mountain of debt.

It was there that Kelly Velasquez, who is currently an AFP correspondent in Rome, met Garcia Marquez. (AFP Photo/Yuri Cortez)

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Above the fold

In praise of the ‘Konbini’

Monday 14 April 2014 - Eye witness

A kombini news stand. (AFP Photo / Yoshikazu Tsuno)

Since I arrived in Japan 18 months ago, I’ve been saying to myself that to write about the ‘Konbini’, these incredible supermarkets that stay open 24/7, would be too much of a cliche, a faux pas typical of the hack fresh off the boat. But what the hell. I want to write about it, so here we go: The Konbini.

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In search of the prophet

Thursday 10 April 2014 - Eye witness

T.B. Joshua (AFP Photo/Robert Leslie)

AFP video journalist Robert Leslie goes on a mission to Lagos, where he tries to interview Nigeria's best known healer-preacher, a self-styled "commissioned" voice of Jesus Christ. (AFP Photo/Robert Leslie)

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The priest with a huge heart

Wednesday 9 April 2014 - Eye witness

Father Frans van der Lugt posing at the monastery of the Jesuit Fathers where he lived in the besieged area of Homs in Syria. (AFP Photo/Mohammed Abu Hamza)

Beirut-based AFP journalist Karim Abou Merhi reflects on the life and death of Father Frans van der Lugt, the Dutch priest who was murdered in Homs this week. Abou Merhi had interviewed the peace activist via Skype in February and was struck by his unshakable desire to help the Syrian people, and the hope he continued to express despite enduring hardship

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Witness to genocide: Rwanda's horror

Tuesday 8 April 2014 - Eye witness

A traumatised girl stands amid the bodies of more than 100 of her compatriots who were trampled to death. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

KIGALI, April 11, 1994 --- I watch soldiers kill off the wounded in the hospital. With bayonets. Two young men are added to the bodies already piling up all over the courtyard. The morgue is flowing over.

I am witnessing a scene of indescribable violence and horror. I am authorized to be here, to observe, describe and tell the story, but without a notebook and without asking any questions. Later, I write. Badly, because the words won’t come.

Annie Thomas, who at the time of the genocide in Rwanda working as an East Africa correspondent, was one of the few journalists to witness the horror of what was happening. (AFP Photo/Pascal Guyot)

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The pain of others: Photographing despair

Monday 7 April 2014 - Behind the image

A woman shows ID belonging her daughter who was killed in Beichuan, Sichuan, in May 2008. (AFP Photo/Mark Ralston)

The nature of news means journalists frequently are in contact with people experiencing the depths of sorrow or despair. For photographers and video reporters, trying to capture such painful emotions can prove a particular challenge.

Should they remain impassive while a father rages as he holds the lifeless body of his daughter? Should they hesitate before taking a photo? How do you respectfully document people’s grief?

In this blog, some of AFP’s photographers explain the issues and their techniques for documenting tragedy.

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Helping Abuzar

Friday 4 April 2014 - Short Stuff


AFP is setting up a permanent fund to help the son of Sardar Ahmad, an AFP journalist who was killed by the Taliban.

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Venezuela and the art of rioting

Thursday 3 April 2014 - Behind the image

A homemade gas mask. (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

The protests against President Nicolas Maduro and those in power started more than a month ago. Initially, there were stark contrasts between protesters and those trying to control them -- on the one hand, you had the tactical and trained efficiency of the police and National Guard. On the other, you had the protesters -- unruly, unorganized and emotional. Fast forward a few weeks and things have changed. Such distinctions have blurred. (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

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Diplomacy on the fly: The Kerry-go-round

Tuesday 1 April 2014 - Behind the image

John Kerry waves while he boards his plane in Amman on March 27, 2014. (AFP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool)

"Life on the road with Kerry is a whirlwind of fast-changing schedules, nail-biting last minute decisions and complex logistics, requiring quick-thinking, immense wells of patience and above all flexibility from his loyal and dedicated staff," writes AFP's US State Department correspondent Jo Biddle. "But it's also a rare fly-on-the-wall privilege to witness diplomacy in the making, with an almost front-row seat as Kerry helms his own path into the foreign policy annals."

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