“Don’t forget to take their picture.”
As I’d find out, not the best advice for a reporter sent to sneak into a third-world prison.
I was heading to Trinidad to interview two imprisoned teenage drug mules who had attempted to smuggle three suitcases of marijuana back to Canada. Both 17, they’d been sentenced to eight years in an adult prison, filled with murderers on death row.
The Star wanted the boys’ story.
It hadn’t started out as my story. A new hire, a summer student heading to Columbia University’s journalism school in the fall, had been following the case and already called the prison warden asking to interview the boys. Although she had a hunger for foreign assignments and a passport filled with stamps, she was too green to go.
Instead, I was assigned to show up at the prison, say I was a cousin, get their story and a photo: proof of life for the front page. Continue reading