Reporters on the job

Cutlural Snapshot

STUCK IN THE SOUTH: The Monitor's Robert Marquand is in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the nuclear crisis created by North Korea's enigmatic leader, Kim Jong Il (page 1). But he finds it frustrating to be "30 miles from a country you can't visit, and where you can't verify what's going on," he says. Even finding and getting permission to interview North Korean defectors can be difficult.

"The South Korean government is not eager for journalists to speak with high-ranking North Korean defectors with a negative view of the North, because such interviews can anger the North, and undermine the South's Sunshine Policy."

DEFINING LEADERSHIP: The Monitor's Nicole Gaouette interviewed several Israeli citizens - political analysts, a taxi driver, a civil engineer, and others - across social strata for today's story about the coming elections (this page). "Even if they didn't like Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, they were unanimous in saying that whatever he does or says, he meets an emotional need now," says Nicole.

"Israelis tend to mythologize their military leaders, and even if there were a viable alternative, no one can approach Sharon's personal biography. Rarely have I done a story where people echoed each other so precisely," she says. "Reporting this story gave me an insight into that quality of military heroism, and toughness, and strength, that Israelis seem to want in their leaders now."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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