Reporters on the job

IN THE LINE OF FIRE: With the promise of a phone line with Internet access, the Monitor's Scott Peterson went to dinner at an Albanian friend's house in suburban Tetovo, Macedonia. But after being treated to three fried eggs, bean soup, pickled cabbage - and a steady modem tone - Scott couldn't leave. "The shooting just outside the house became so intense, I had to spend the night. But no one slept," he says. Scott has been in dangerous war situations before, but never under circumstances like this, unable to move and under sustained gunfire. "I was scared, of course." But what struck him most was witnessing up close, for hours on end, how his Albanian hosts were affected (page 1). "Normally, as a journalist, I witness people and events for short periods. Then I go back to the relative safety of my hotel. Here, I watched a family going to pieces with fear as war was waged in their front yard."

MIXED MESSAGES: The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi has visited the monarch butterfly sanctuaries with his three children more than once during his posting to Mexico. "A visit to one of the sanctuaries is one of the most fascinating nature outings Mexico offers," says Howard. It also provokes a lot of thinking about the environment and natural-resource management. "I realize the people who live around the reserves have to make a living, so I don't mind the food and souvenir stands that line the paths into the most heavily visited reserve. If someone can feed a family selling butterfly T-shirts instead of logging the trees, I guess that's progress," he says. "But what I can't get used to is seeing the little wooden logging trucks that vendors sell to children visiting the butterflies. It doesn't seem like exactly the right message."

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