Reporters on the Job

Excuse me, ladies: Faye Bowers, who is on assignment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, didn't think twice when her editors in Boston asked her to get popular reaction to the news about Hussein's capture (page 9).

"I, along with another American female journalist working here, grabbed my black abaya (head-to-toe covering) and headed for the nearest mall. But we forgot to bring along a male escort from the Information Ministry.

Faye and her colleague had no problems walking to the mall or speaking with the first two men they interviewed, even photographing one.

"But when we approached a young Saudi woman at an ATM, the security police weren't far behind - at first two men, then four others in robes and kaffiyeh. They asked questions about what we were doing, and why we were not with a government escort. We explained our deadline pressures."

Faye says they took the women's credentials to make copies, and gave them a lecture. "We shouldn't go off alone and talk with people unescorted - for our own safety, of course. But our young Saudi woman was determined. 'It's no problem,' she said, looking at the men with derision in her eyes, 'just keep talking.' Shortly the men returned with our credentials and walked us to the door."

Unusual spin: The Monitor's Cameron Barr timed his interview with Israeli parliamentarian Avraham Burg (this page) to coincide with the recent visit to Jerusalem of World Editor Dave Scott. "It's good to have your boss come to town," says Cameron. "Without Dave, I would probably have made do with a phone interview, generally the quickest way to talk to Israeli politicians." Having a visiting dignitary also brings with it some other benefits. "We got to see a small sliver of Burg's huge collection of dreidels, which sits on a glassed in bookshelf in his compact office."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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