Reporters on the Job

Covering Another Bombing: Tuesday's story about a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel (page 7), presented several journalistic challenges for correspondent Ben Lynfield. Since he lives about 45 minutes away, in Jerusalem, he wasn't sure that there would be anything to see or anyone to talk to when he got there.

"These things tend to get cleaned up quickly," says Ben, whose job requires him to cover more of these scenes than anyone should have to. He arrived in time to find witnesses. His first inter- viewee was someone who was still badly shaken from the event. "I started asking questions in Hebrew. He switched to English, and told me he was a Canadian who was marrying an Israeli," says Ben. "He criticized the security at the market and said he hadn't even told his parents in Canada that he was OK yet. I gave him my phone to make the call, but he didn't reach them."

Afterward, Ben worked to understand the political significance of the event. "It's difficult because the analysts ascribe completely different political meanings to the attack. I wonder if their analysis is correct, or whether it's just suicide bombing No. 116, and another tragic loss of life."

A Bush Supporter in Cairo: Staff writer Dan Murphy was invited to break the Ramadan fast recently with a handful of Afghans studying at the Al Ahzar University in Cairo. "One of the students was delighted with the US presence in Afghanistan. He hopes that Bush wins the election." But his fellow Afghans challenged his support, raising the US occupation of Iraq. "I asked him if he told his classmates in the university that he supported Bush. 'No way,' was his reply," says Dan. In reporting Tuesday's story, Dan found that many in the Middle East are increasingly uncomfortable with the brutal tactics of the Iraqi insurgency (page 1), but that doesn't necessarily translate into support for US policies in the region.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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