Reporters on the Job

• KIDNAP PREVENTION TECHNIQUES: Reporter Gretchen Peters had no trouble finding kidnap victims for today's story (this page). "I called a friend in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where I went to language school," says Gretchen. "He gave me the names of two people. He told me, 'If you need more I could get you 15 more by tomorrow.' It was that common."

To protect herself from the "express kidnap," tactic, Gretchen no longer hails cabs on the street. "I always call a radio cab. It costs more. Instead of $1.50 for a short trip in a street cab, the radio cab will cost $5. It's worth it because then cab company has my name and a record of who picked me up and when."

• YOM KIPPUR IN ZIMBABWE: For the Monitor's Danna Harman, observation of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur in Zimbabwe was both inspiring and heartbreaking. "This tiny group of Jews is trying its hardest to maintain its sense of community," she says. "In the synagogue, every family had its designated seat. Those individuals remaining would sit in the family pew alone. You could envision the family that once sat together. It was sad. Yet, the prayers took on real meaning, given the circumstances of the country. It is a time for thinking about others, not yourself."

• SLOVAK HURDLES: As Arie Farnam interviewed Slovaks on their opinions of controversial politician Vladimir Meciar and Slovakia's relations with the West (story, page 7), she sensed reluctance to talk. "It's sometimes hard to get straight answers to questions about the West when you're perceived as being a Westerner yourself," Arie says. But polite persistence usually pays off, she notes. Persistence has a price, though. Checking details for the opening vignette of her story, Arie almost missed her train. After all the effort and rush, her editor cut much of the detail to save space.

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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