Reporters on the Job

• NO ARMY RECRUITER: The Monitor's Scott Peterson talked with Iraqi defectors in several locations for today's story about the loyalty of Iraq's military (page 1). He met some of them at a defectors' camp near the village of Dohuk in northern Iraq. One was a former Iraqi tank commander who fought against the US in the 1991 Gulf War. "While I was interviewing him, the tank commander asked my translator about me, assuming I was a US official: 'What does he want from me, to join the Americans? If so, I am ready to go!' he said with a big smile. I had to gently remind him that I'm just a lowly hack with little power to change his life. I observe and write."

• RENDEZVOUS IN PAKISTAN : Since the kidnapping and murder of reporter Daniel Pearl, most reporters take extra precautions when meeting with a member of a banned religious party, as the Monitor's Scott Baldauf did for today's story (page 7). Mr. Pearl disappeared on Jan. 23 on the way to an interview with a similar group. But, Scott says, you have to put a lot of trust in your fixer and translator, in this case a Pakistani reporter named Aseem Hussein. "We were meeting at a hotel in Lahore, and I know the hotel staff, including the friendly but imposing seven-foot-tall doorman, Babu Khan. I took some comfort that it was unlikely that he would allow me to be hustled out the door by kidnappers." Ultimately, when Qazi Baha-ur Rahman, a spokesman of a pro-Sunni party, Sepah-e Sahaba, arrived, all Scott's concerns were set aside. "Over tea, we chatted amiably about the story, and our mutual problems getting onto e-mail in Pakistan."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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