Reporters on the Job

SPIES LIKE US: Belarus can be a place of smoke and mirrors when it comes to KGB surveillance - especially during election time (page 1). But Moscow correspondent Scott Peterson found that paranoia also plays a role. As he was interviewing an opposition leader, the man kept jumping up and peering past the lace curtains of his front window. He told Scott that two KGB agents kept constant watch on him. He said they parked out front in a car with plate number 2060, and had detained several journalists a few days ago - immediately after they had met with the leader.

"There they are," the man said, calling Scott to the window and pointing out two men. "No, they aren't," Scott replied, identifying them as his driver and driver's son. They were welcomed in for coffee. The "real" KGB agents never surfaced.

SMUGGLING JOB OFFER: Illegal migrants they may be, but Peter Ford found it hard not to sympathize with the refugees staying in France between attempts to sneak through the Channel tunnel (page 1). "They have braved the most extraordinary adventures to make their way this far clandestinely from Afghanistan or Kurdistan," says Peter. He spent the morning running an impromptu taxi/interview service - giving refugees rides into the nearest town to spare them a four-mile walk there and back - and interviewing them as he drove. "When I told them I was English, they all asked me to take them through the tunnel in my trunk," Peter says. He graciously declined.

COURTING A KING: To interview the king of Ghana (page 7), reporter Daniel Foster learned that one doesn't just make an appointment. There's a royal protocol to be followed. "We had to meet with three different paramount chiefs over two days," says Daniel. Each meeting required a "tangible" show of respect, i.e. gifts and cash. By the time of the formal introduction to the king, Daniel's sense of awe was fading. But when the actual interview was conducted a few days later, he was impressed. "He fits the archetype of a king. He has a real presence and, by all accounts, is an honest leader."

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT

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