Reporters on the Job

A MOVIE TOO CLOSE TO REALITY: The conflict between image and reality was a natural focus of today's story on the movie "Traffic." But the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi didn't expect to personally encounter it in Tijuana. "On my way to interview a Mexican police commander about the movie, I picked up a Tijuana newspaper with a giant headline that a policeman assigned to an anti-kidnapping unit had been murdered the previous day. When I got to my destination, the commander, a black ribbon in his lapel, was leaving for the funeral of the same officer. "You want to talk about the movies, but I have to deal with reality," were the commander's first, dismissive words as he climbed into a dark Suburban. After a moment's reflection, he added, "I know you have your job to do, too, so come back this evening," and the rescheduled interview took place.

REPORTERS NON GRATA: The Monitor's Scott Peterson hiked back up into the hills above Tetovo, Macedonia, yesterday. He had no trouble getting past several rebel checkpoints. "We went to find out how the families living in the rebel territory were coping," says Scott. He spoke with several families who welcomed his interest. But then a UCK rebel commander approached. "He told us we had to leave and instructed the mayor not to give us any information. It seemed he was establishing who's running the show now," says Scott.

SETTLERS OR JOURNALISTS? The Monitor's Cameron Barr, like most reporters in the Middle East, tapes the letters "TV" on his car. It identifies him as a journalist, rather than an "enemy" of one side or the other. But one of the mothers at the Israeli settlement says they use the same strategy (this page). "I didn't say anything, since I might do the same to protect my child. But it cheapens the currency of that protective device for everyone."

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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