Mark Jones

I’m not
going to single out any reporting on the tsunami. The words and
pictures told their own story – the amateur ones as starkly as the news

The start of the year has been a surreal time. The papers
were half full of death and destruction and half full of advice on
getting a new life. When not worrying about our diet and smoking
habits, we’ve been trying to “Make Sense Of It All”. I’m afraid neither
the Chief Rabbi nor the Archbishop of Canterbury have enhanced their
reputations as columnists.

I recommend Gerard Baker’s blunt
rebuke to the pontificators, godfearing and atheistic alike, in The
Times (“Spare us this disaster drivel”).

And while travellers perish in their thousands, it’s the time of year when we are all being encouraged to travel.

Observer ‘s Escape section, revitalised under a new editor, offered the
swiftest, most intelligent response to the Indian Ocean disaster.

But my favourite pieces of travel writing weren’t in the travel sections.

Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent programme, Tim Butcher described
his journey up the Congo in the face of disease, war and famine. In G2
Niloofar Haeri unearthed a new breed of fashion fanatics: Iranian
mullahs. Her trip to Qom, the Savile Row of conservative Islam, was
told straight and elegantly stitched together by G2 ‘s craftsman

How many of you spent the holidays dreaming up
brilliant ideas for that magazine/book/internet venture? Two former
Mars executives, Lyn Hughes and Paul Morrison, did just that when they
sketched out an idea for a travel magazine on the back of an airline
sick bag.

Eleven years on, that magazine, Wanderlust, defying
commercial logic, is fat and healthy. Paul died in December. Lyn, his
widow, dedicates the February issue to his work (including a stunning
cover photograph). For an obituary, it’s one of the most inspirational
pieces I’ve read in a long time.

Mark Jones is editorial director of customer publisher Cedar and a columnist for Financial Times Weekend and Business Life.

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