Reporters on the Job

Meeting Mrs. Farhat: For today's profile of Hamas parliamentarian Mariam Farhat, Ilene Prusher traveled to Mrs. Farhat's home in Gaza. "She said she didn't want to talk about the political situation, because there were negotiations going on between Prime Minister-elect Ismail Haniya and President Mahmoud Abbas. I said that was fine, because I wanted to hear about her opinions on social policy," Ilene says. That seemed to get her to open up and start talking.

Ilene says she was struck by the number of flowers in the upper middle-class home, and commented on them, thinking that they were sent as congratulations for her win. "As it turned out, one of her sons had just gotten married. I also noticed the political posters on the walls - there was a collage of Farhat, her late husband, and her three 'martyred' sons, all carrying weapons."

Hard to Trust: Working in Iraq has never been easy, but staff writer Scott Peterson was struck by how challenging work in Baghdad has become when he was setting up interviews for today's story on police abuse. Gone are the days after the fall of Baghdad, when people would fearlessly speak out, and insist on being in the newspaper.

"Suspicion and fear run so deep that on sensitive issues you must promise total anonymity before anyone will even see you," says Scott. The challenge is to then grill your source to ensure as much truthfulness as possible.

"We found one strong source, a just-released detainee still recovering from beatings - but his father refused to let him talk to me," says Scott. "Others insisted that I not even know their name or where they lived, fearful that I was, in fact, not a journalist."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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