Reporters on the Job

• EXIT PLANNING: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf has taken note of the US State Department recommendation for the "voluntary departure [from India] of non- emergency US personnel" and their families. "I looked into leaving the country, but then I realized that my wife, daughter, and I could leave, but our soon-to-be-officially adopted daughter, Zahra, could not. She's nine months old and doesn't have a passport. If Zahra stays, we stay."

After finishing today's story about Indo-Pakistani war scenarios (page 1), Scott took out a map and figured out which major Indian city is beyond the 900-mile range of Pakistan's longest flying missile. "We have now booked flights to Chennai, India [formally Madras]," he says. "May we never have to use them."

• A PASSION FOR SOCCER: British reporter Jonathan Watts says part of the reason he moved to Japan six years ago was because he was "a football nut," and wanted to be there for the World Cup.

He is such a fan that he founded a team of foreign correspondents who play in the International Football Friendship League, which has 80 teams made up of everyone from US expatriates to Peruvian businessmen. "I'm a very awful center forward," he admits. The unexpected reward of his soccer league connections? Getting a rare interview with Japan's soccer coach, Philippe Troussier (page 1).

• PASSAGE TO SOMALILAND: Crossing a border in Africa can be one of the trickiest parts of an assignment for a reporter. Typically, border guards will find something wrong with a journalist's passport or papers, whether it's to extort a bribe or to assert their power. The more obscure the border post, often the worse it is, because they're not used to dealing with foreigners.

So reporter Mike Crawley was a bit worried about the route he took to Somaliland (page 7) – traveling with a convoy of refugees returning from Ethiopia, crossing the border on a dirt road seemingly in the middle of nowhere. "But when I got to the border I found out I had nothing to worry about.

"On the Ethiopian side, the border was marked by a thin rope stretched between two metal posts stuck in the sand. The guards let us cross without even looking at our passports, let alone stamping them. On the Somaliland side, an official asked me if I had a visa, and when I said yes, he simply nodded and let me go."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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