Reporters on the Job

• FACTS AND EMOTIONS: Lena Ostrovskaya, a Moscow public schoolteacher, works part time with reporter Fred Weir doing research, interpreting, and occasionally reporting. Lena spent yesterday going to various Moscow hospitals to talk to relatives waiting for news of loved ones (page 1) freed after the hostage crisis. Lena found it a difficult assignment.

"I felt helpless and indignant for those people, seeing how hard it was to get any information about their close relatives from the authorities. I also felt sorry for them. One woman couldn't find her son and was showing pictures of him. It was so painful and terrible to see her going through this. Maybe I'm not a real reporter, because I can't separate myself emotionally from these things."

Or maybe she's a better reporter because of her compassion.

• SERENDIPITOUS SOURCING: For the story about Turkey's leading Islamic party and the use of headscarves (this page), the Monitor's Ilene Prusher says her first thought was to interview a woman candidate in the AKP (Justice and Development Party) who could give her perspective on wearing a scarf. But the AKP wasn't any help, so Ilene and an interpreter went out to do the random woman-on-the-street interview. "My concern with this method is that I wouldn't find anyone who could express things from a religious woman's point of view, and whose arguments would stand up next to those of the liberal journalist I'd already interviewed.

"Well, I was wrong. The first woman we stopped was Elif, a bright woman with well thought-out views on why she was covered by a headscarf. And, she wasn't an AKP supporter – another reminder that you can't judge a head by its cover."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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