Reporters on the Job

CONNECTIONS COUNT: Reporter Colin Woodard had heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger's childhood fitness coach in Austria wasn't doing any interviews. Indeed, Colin called him several times, with no result.

But as part of his story, Colin interviewed Werner Kopack, editor of a local Austrian paper and long-time friend of the movie star turned candidate. Mr. Kopack phoned the former coach, Alfred Gerstl, vouching for Colin's upstanding character. With that, Gerstl picked up Colin at his hotel and gave him a guided tour of Thal, the village were Arnold was raised, before they returned to Gerstl's home for a proper interview (page 1).

INTO THE SUNNI TRIANGLE: When reporter Ann Scott Tyson traveled to the heart of the "Sunni Triangle" for today's story, she immediately noted everyone's heightened sense of danger. Approaching a 4th Infantry Division compound with her Iraqi interpreter and driver was a dicey procedure, perhaps only second in risk to accompanying troops on a raid in Tikrit's RPG [rocket propelled grenade] alley. Ann had her driver stop a good 100 yards from the compound gate, then got out, careful to carry nothing, and slowly walked toward the soldiers manning a Bradley behind concrete barriers.

Compared to other parts of Iraq, US commanders in Tikrit, Ann noticed, took a far tougher approach both to fighting guerrillas and managing local politics. Here, they stressed, US soldiers will fire without warning against perceived threat. In politics, commanders hand-picked Iraqi officials and just as readily fired them. "Here's how you decide the number of [Iraqi] council members," one Army officer said. "You count the number of chairs that fit around the table."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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