Reporters on the Job

10,000 EYES ON ME: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf marched into the hills to cover today's story about a Maoist rebellion in Nepal (page 1). He was told that he was the first foreign journalist to attend a "mass meeting" of the group there. "I had no idea that I, the lone foreign journalist at this fandango, would be a featured part of the program," he says.

After honoring a dozen relatives of local "martyrs," Comrade Pratap, the master of ceremonies, began calling up all the journalists. He placed a fragrant string of herbs around their necks, smudged a dot of red powder on their foreheads, and pumped his fist in the air as a salute.

"Was I, an unintended representative of 'American imperialism,' expected to go through this drill? A nudge in my ribs from my guide, the journalist Guna Raj Luitel, answered the question. 'Scott Baldauf, journalist for the American Science Monitor,' called out Comrade Pratap.

"Five thousand pairs of eyes fell on me. I stood, somewhat wobbly after a two-hour mountain trek, and walked over to Comrade Pratap. He smudged a massive red smear on my forehead. He smiled, shook my hand, and the crowd applauded. I drew the line at the pumped fist. Nobody seemed to mind," says Scott.

YES, THAT's ME: The Monitor's Scott Peterson had never met the editor of the Grozny Worker before reporting today's story (this page). When they shook hands, the editor did a double take. He reached for the latest copy of his paper and pointed to a story about the takeover of a Russian television station, NTV. "Is this you?" he asked. "Yes, that's us." In fact, it was a translation of a story that Scott had written for the Monitor last week.

OVER THE BORDER: After finishing the last edit on today's smuggling story (page 12), Howard LaFranchi wondered about the two little Portillo boys and the father he'd interviewed in Naco, Mexico. Yesterday, he called the owner of the inn where they had stayed. " 'Wow, Howard, so nice of you to remember me!' " Veronica said right away. She said the Portillo family was smuggled across the border on the first try, and were now in Chicago. The parents were already working, she said.


HOMEBUILDERS CLUB: Some readers have asked where to send donations in support of the women's homebuilding group in South Africa (April 27, page 1). Checks or letters can be sent to:

Masisizane Women's Club

PO Box 61443

Marshalltown, Johannesburg 2107

South Africa

Please write out the full date on the check, just like this: May 2, 2001.

Let us hear from you.

Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail:

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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