Reporters on the Job

NOT READY TO TALK: While reporting today's story about the economic fallout from the attacks on New York and Washington (this page), the Monitor's Ilene Prusher found it almost "impossible to report because no one wanted to talk to journalists, or were not allowed to."

"Many told me that they thought it would be inappropriate, considering the magnitude of the casualties in New York. Many Japanese companies were still trying to account for all their employees and colleagues, and so could not yet fathom the idea of addressing what the financial impact would be, and I had to respect that. But I was amazed at the numbers of major financial institutions which had blanket bans on speaking to journalists about the state of the markets, such as Merrill Lynch Japan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse First Boston.

"It's really not that people don't want to give you information," one banking official told Ilene. "It's that most people don't actually know themselves what's going on or who or what has survived, so we're all trying to come to terms with that first."

"I found myself feeling sympathy rather than frustration or annoyance. Of course, it's our job as journalists to get a reading of reactions to an event like this, but the tragedy of this is still sinking in."

AN EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY: The Monitor's Robert Marquand was personally touched by the expressions of concern he received in Beijing. "I received phone calls from the Chinese foreign ministry, and from a former employee in China, who were checking to make sure my family was unharmed," says Bob.

His family members live in California and Florida and were not injured in the attacks.

EXPRESSIONs OF SOLIDARITY: At the Monitor's Paris bureau, Peter Ford was struck by a comment he heard on a French radio program yesterday. A Frenchwoman called to say: "Anti-Americanism is a luxury we allow ourselves when things are going well. At moments like this, we are all Americans."

And in Moscow, the Monitor's correspondent Scott Peterson says that many Russians expressed their sympathy and solidarity with Americans by bringing flowers, candles, notes, and even chocolates and chewing gum to the US embassy.

Among the red carnations woven into the chain-link fence in front of the building was a postcard of the World Trade Center. A note inside a bouquet of gerberas and chrysanthemums said: "It is also our immeasurable tragedy. We feel pain with you. In the 21st century, we must be together."

- David Clark Scott

World Editor

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