Reporters on the job

REPORTING WITH A FORK: For today's story about Hamid Karzai, the new leader of the Afghan government (page 1), reporter Lucian Kim wanted to track down his relatives and get their perspective on him. His first lead came from a diplomat at the Bonn, Germany, talks. "He mentioned in passing that the Karzai family owns a restaurant in Baltimore called the Helmand. I also read that there were other family restaurants in Cambridge, Mass., and San Francisco."

Lucian called Leigh Montgomery, the Monitor's head librarian in Boston, for help. "I asked Leigh to check some US phone books to see if she could get the restaurant numbers."

But Leigh already had the number. She knew the Helmand firsthand ("the food is amazing"), and had the restaurant's card in her Rolodex. "Moments later, I was interviewing Hamid Karzai's sister on the phone," says Lucian. He vows to eat more often at ethnic restaurants. "You never know when you'll need the contacts."

TWO ROADS DIVERGED: For New Zealander David Cohen, reporting today's piece about the "The Lord of the Rings" (page 7) prompted a bit of a personal reflection about values and career choices. " 'Rings' director Peter Jackson and I began our careers at exactly the same place and more or less the same time. We worked at a newspaper here [in Wellington] called the Evening Post - he in the graphic arts department, me as a staff reporter. He dabbled in film, as a spare-time hobby, while I was involved in what seemed to be the terribly more important business of news-gathering.

Today, well, it's starting to feel as if he owns the city. And the arc of his career really is one of those true antipodean do-it-yourself success stories," says David.

STRANGE DAYS: For the Monitor correspondents Cameron Barr and Nicole Gaouette, working in Jerusalem sometimes mixes the horrible with the merely routine (page 1). After confirming that the early morning boom they heard yesterday was not thunder, Cameron hurried over before breakfast to the former Hilton hotel, where a Palestinian suicide bomber had detonated his charge, lightly injuring a handful of passersby, but leaving a trail of gore.

Minutes later, Nicole drove by, picked up Cameron, and they stopped at a cafe near the ex-Hilton for breakfast. "Strange morning," Nicole said to the proprietor. He shrugged his shoulders. "An ordinary morning," he said. "A typical Israeli morning."

- David Clark Scott

World editor

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