Reporters on the Job

The Modern Office: When correspondent Michael Jordan learned of a Lithuanian website designed to encourage migrants to come home, he was intrigued. "The two women who run the site were high school classmates," he says – "and they're emblematic of a new tech-savvy generation."

One of the women, Deimante Doksaite, is also a correspondent for two expatriate newspapers, one in Chicago and one in Dublin. "So she knew her audience and what interested them – real-estate prices, job prospects," says Michael. "She wants her fellow citizens to feel connected to home."

Michael asked the 20-somethings if he could meet them at their office for an interview. But it turned out their "offices" were in their respective bedrooms, from which they e-mail each other at night about the site, after their day jobs.

"So we met at a cafe instead," says Michael.

Tough Streets: The streets in Dhaka, Bangladesh, are virtually empty of traffic at the moment, as protests have embroiled the city, notes correspondent Mahtab Haider. "On Tuesday, there were rallies and protesters clashing with police," he says, adding that "the police were exceptionally brutal."

Mahtab notes that there have been a number of blockades in the past months, and there was violence in October. "But this is a new level, and the political implications now are more far-reaching," he says.

Mahtab has changed his commuting habits in light of the violence, opting for a bicycle instead of his car. The commute doesn't take him any longer, though: "Normally, the streets are clogged with traffic, so it takes me just as long to drive as it does now to bike the route."

Rare Dialogue: Staff writer Ilene Prusher says that writing about the documentary film "Encounter" was inspiring. "We spend so much time as journalists [in Israel] writing about the conflict, and it's not that often these days that we find people working with Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups," she says. "Some of those initiatives have petered out. The difficulty of getting Palestinians into Israel or getting Israelis to visit Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza has made contacts more complicated than any time in nearly 40 years."

Ilene says that Palestinians involved in dialogue efforts were sometimes blamed by their compatriots for "normalization" with Israel, while Israelis who go to the territories to meet Palestinians are often painted as extreme leftists.

"One of the women who impressed me was Robi Damelin, an Israeli mother who got involved in the Bereaved Families Forum after she lost her son during the intifada," says Ilene. "She says she was always driven in the direction of justice because she had immigrated here from South Africa, where her family was involved in the fight against apartheid."

Ilene listened as she shared her views with a group of young students. "The people in the film are not naive," she said. "They are the one who suffered the most from the conflict. To me, it's more naive to sit in your house and expect the politicians to do all the work."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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