Reporters on the Job

• REPORT ON HUNGER: Reporter Ben Lynfield knew last week that a USAID report was coming out on hunger in the Palestinian territories (page 7). A Monitor editor had heard about it, and it had been leaked to an Israeli newspaper last week. He called USAID, which confirmed it would be released Monday. Ben was tempted to jump on the story before others published it. He knew most of what was in the report. But Ben decided to wait for the official report. "In retrospect, it was the right decision. It gave me time to put faces on the data," he says. He found those faces by asking a Palestinian journalist, a friend, if he knew of any families facing severe hunger. His colleague directed him to the family profiled in today's story. But waiting also made it a more emotionally difficult story to do. "It was clear that this family was suffering, and it was hard to describe the listlessness I saw in their eyes."

• WEIGHING IN: While flying to Uzbekistan for today's story about border controls to stop the smuggling of radioactive materials (page 1), Scott Peterson faced another hazard of a working correspondent: extra baggage fees. Staff at airports in Russia and the former Soviet states force travelers to hoist both their checked baggage and carry-on bags onto the scale.

Scott carries cameras, computer, and a satellite phone with him. On the flight to Uzbekistan, Scott put both carry-on bags on the scale, eliciting a brief howl from the ticket-checker. "The scale had shot up to 32 kilograms or 70 pounds," Scott recalls. "They were so shocked, they just let me reload and stagger off."

Cultural snapshot

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