Reporters on the Job
• Bunker Beat: "Journalism as we know it may be coming to an end in Iraq," says staff writer Scott Peterson, now in Baghdad. His story today focuses on Iraqi journalists (page 1). But the threats are becoming so specific against Western journalists too, that they often can't move beyond their hotels. Western news organizations are relying more and more on their Iraqi staff. "The recent kidnappings have really focused journalists' minds," says Scott. Every enclave of foreigners - contractors, diplomats, aid workers - is dealing with this. At the Hamra Hotel - home to about a dozen news organizations, including the Monitor - "we have regular security meetings and have even set up an online chat group, to quickly spread the word of any new information," says Scott.
On Monday, there was warning that a certain make of car had been turned into a car bomb, and was prowling the neighborhood. The day before, a message went out that a colleague had been followed by a driver who behaved suspiciously, followed the car too closely, and gesticulated to a hidden cohort.
"I have never kept such a low profile in Iraq, much less Baghdad," says Scott, who first visited the capital in 1996. "Our window on Iraq is shrinking, and so is our ability to tell the story well."
• Egyptian Tourism: Staff writer Dan Murphy assumed that the Taba attacks (this page) would have a major negative impact on Egypt's tourist industry, which is the country's second-largest foreign exchange earner after oil and gas. After the 1997 terrorist attack in Luxor, Egyptian tourism went into a tailspin. But this time around, cancellations appear to have been minimal. "On the one hand tourists seemed to see this was an isolated incident, focused on Israel and Israelis in the Sinai - and not tourists in general," Dan says. "On the other hand, perhaps, the world has grown less sensitive to these threats."
David Clark Scott