Reporters on the Job

CROSSING THE DIVIDE: Reporter Arie Farnam ventured into a divided Macedonian village for today's story (this page). The ethnic Albanian side of the village was under occasional sniper fire, so the locals were huddled behind stone walls when she arrived. "They urgently motioned us into a safe corner. After I talked to Albanian residents, the local mayor offered to take me and the photographer across the village to the Macedonian-Slav side."

They crossed a few deserted streets, hiding behind walls and sprinting across open spaces. There Arie met an elderly Macedonian couple. "The old man told me his son and family were refugees in Skopje, and he suggested I talk to them, handing me a scrap of paper with a phone number scrawled on it," she says. They returned to the other side of the village to get their car. "Just as we were leaving, the elderly Macedonian man hobbled into the circle of ethnic-Albanians surrounding us. While all eyes watched him warily, he whispered, 'The paper with the phone number. It is the only copy.' "

Arie quickly gave it back. "Often, both Macedonian Slavs and ethnic Albanians disapprove of journalists who talk to the other side. But this time, the onlookers nodded their approval. The mood lifted, and a few even cracked a smile. The old man's bravery in the face of the snipers, for the sake of his connection to his son, was something everyone understood."

HARD TO WATCH: Reporter Ann Cadwallader has covered the conflict in Northern Ireland for the past 20 years. "I've only broken down and openly cried once before. But I couldn't help it yesterday," she says. Ann spent the morning quietly sitting in the living room of the McCabe family, not taking notes, watching as they prepared for school. But neither she nor they were prepared for the ugliness ahead (page 1). "It was such an awful sight, watching little children crying their hearts out, clutching their parents. If the parents had known it would be this bad, they never would have taken them to school."

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT..

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