Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The man who's running for president of Sudan

It started exactly 40 days ago, and now it's done. On my final city desk shift at the Missourian, one of the ACEs came in and asked asked who wanted check out a story about a rumor about an MU professor who was planning to resign so he could run for president of Sudan.

Everyone laughed and rolled their eyes. I asked for it. We twittered about it to see if anyone knew anything, but nothing turned up.

So I called him. "Hi, Dr. Ibrahim. This might be completely off the wall, but I heard a rumor that you're planning to run for president of Sudan. Is there anything to that?"

What he said shocked me into realizing that this was for real. "Well, I cannot really talk about it at this time," he chuckled. "Give me about three days."

He had to work out some contractual issues before he felt comfortable talking about it, but three days stretched into a "couple more days," which kept stretching until it was more than a week later and I still didn't have anything.

This was one of the first times I've felt real pressure to get the scoop, so I didn't really want for him to get released from his contract and then make an announcement about his plans before I could write the story.

So we made a deal. He agreed to do an interview with me as long as I waited until he got his red tape all ironed out. Well, the days stretched into weeks again, so I finally got him to let me run it anyway with the disclaimer that he has not yet been officially let go from his duties.

The story is on the front page today, and it's hefty. And gratifying. And I had a lot of help, especially from the long-suffering Katherine Reed. Also, for more about the political climate in Sudan, check out a separate interview I did with Douglas Johnson, the author of The Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars.

(Both of these photos were posed and used for my environmental portrait project in Fundamentals of Photojournalism, but I decided to wait until the story broke to publish them.)


solopoesie said...

(=*.*=).davvero bello il post .
(")__(") ....ora sii gentile vieni
nel ....mio

Anonymous said...

I think you are a genius.

Kensington Burke said...

Excellent article. Very intriguing.

Emily Moberly said...

update your blog!