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Reporters on the Job

November 16, 2004



Then and Now: Correspondent Ilene Prusher started her journalism career in Jerusalem in 1993. Her reporting in Ramallah on how Palestinians view the future (page 1) reminded her of her first trip to the city. "It was shortly after the Oslo peace agreement was signed. People had photos of Yasser Arafat in their car windows and his portrait was on buildings. They were excited that the 'hero' of the Palestinian state would soon arrive and bring peace," she recalls.

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In the last few days, following his death, Arafat's picture was everywhere again. "Ten years after my first visit to Ramallah, I saw the same photos, but this time it was to say, 'good bye,' " she says.

Nonstop in Fallujah: Among the challenges for a journalist working in Fallujah is the sheer uncertainty of it all, says staff writer Scott Peterson, who is traveling with a marine armored company. The US troops are conducting operations 24-7. Keeping up with sleep is difficult enough for them. Add to that writing stories, editing and transmitting photos, and Scott has been on the 'no sleep program.' That means he's often putting his computer and satellite phone away at the moment the marines wake for another mission.

"I've got the rhythm down better, but there is always something that can come up on deadline," Scott says. Yesterday, he had one story in mind, then visited the food distribution mosque shortly before deadline, and decided to write that story (this page).

Just as Scott was almost done editing, a series of mortars landed very near his position, forcing everyone into their flak vests, and Scott inside, away from his satellite phone. Adding to the confusion, the marines started smashing all the windows in the house they had occupied, to prevent flying shards in case a mortar hit its mark.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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