Reporters on the Job

FISHY FARE: Peter Ford gets a daily reminder of Europe's dwindling fish stocks (page 7) whenever he goes out to shop. On Thursday, after he had finished writing his story, he went to buy something for lunch. Laid out on the fishmonger's slab were neatly piled slices of cod - at 23 euros ($23.60) a kilo. Next door, in the butcher's window, he saw entrecôte (steak) for a euro less. What was once an economical dish, popular among those who could not afford meat very often, is now a luxury. "Neither seemed within reach of a journalist's salary," says Peter. "I settled on a length of blood sausage. But I'm not sure your American readers will appreciate my menu choice."

DÉJÀ VIEW: The last time Scott Peterson saw the Iraqi side of the Gulf War battlefield - in 1998 - he was working on a story about contamination from US ammunition made from depleted uranium (DU). Sweating inside a nuclear, chemical, and biological suit, he peered at the battlefield through the lenses of a gas mask. At the time of that visit, few journalists had visited the site, much less with a Geiger counter in tow to measure basic radioactive contamination levels. Upon his return visit four years later for today's update (page 1), Scott found that the detritus of war had gathered more rust.

This time, with the added experience of covering a DU story in Kosovo, Scott knew more about how DU works, and how it contaminates. His new uniform was a face mask and plastic booties, to ensure that radioactive particles didn't stick to his boots. "What struck me this time was that someone had attempted some radioactive cleanup of the tank graveyard," Scott says. "Several tanks and armored vehicles had been cut up with blow torches, and the DU impact points - the places where permanent contamination would have been greatest - had been carved out and taken away."

Margaret Henry
Europe editor

Cultural snapshot

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