Reporters on the Job

• GETTING ACCESS IN JORDAN: While working on today's story about an Al Qaeda-related plot to attack US and Israeli targets in Jordan (page 1), reporter Nicholas Pelham found his assumptions about access to information reversed. It was the Jordanians who were most helpful.

A tipoff by a local journalist led Nick to talk to one of Jordan's top lawyers. "I was surprised when Mohammed Duwaik sent his junior to rescue me when I got lost in the labyrinth of alleyways in Amman."

Later, Nick confirmed details of the story, on background, with a Jordanian royal adviser. And he was "positively shocked when Jordan's state prosecutor picked up the phone and answered my questions about the case."

But US officials were less forthcoming. "Apparently this was a matter too private for the public affairs unit at the American Embassy to discuss. I was told only the ambassador could comment. When I tried to simply check the facts of the case, I was told a higher US official would call me back. No one called."

• WORLD CUP FUN: For reporter Jonathan Watts, a self-described Japanese aficionado and football maniac, covering the World Cup (page 1) was a dream come true. "I had one of the best nights of my life," says Jon, when Japan beat Tunisia. He stayed out until 7 a.m., and capped the celebration by jumping into Osaka's Boton Buri canal in his underwear with at least 500 other fans.

Another favorite memory: An elderly Japanese woman had her photo taken with Jon and a friend. Later, she came back with drinks and cookies for Jon. "I've lived here for six years, and I've never seen that sort of outpouring of emotion toward a foreigner."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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