Reporters on the Job

DIFFERENT COMFORT LEVELS: When the news broke that there had been a friendly-fire incident in northern Iraq (this page), the Monitor's Ilene Prusher was soon in a car with two colleagues barreling toward the site of the bombing, not really knowing if it was safe.

"We stopped along the way to ask the pesh merga soldiers if it was OK to go ahead. A Commander Kawrini said it would be safe and offered to lead us to the site," says Ilene. "Once there, I found myself caught between two journalists with whom I was sharing a car. One wanted to leave as soon as we got there, and the other one did not bat an eyelash as Iraqi shells rattled a nearby hillside and US planes flew overhead.

"I've learned from experience that the right thing to do is to leave as soon as any of your colleagues feel unsafe, so we only stayed about five minutes," she says. "But it was clear that one felt we had stayed too long - and the other would have been happy to stay far longer."

LOW PROFILE IN CAIRO: Street demonstrations, it turns out, are a good place for a reporter to build contacts. On her second day in Cairo, the Monitor's Danna Harman went to a mosque, where there was a violent antiwar confrontation between protesters and the police. Danna was dressed in a long skirt and sandals in a bid to be sensitive to local mores. But between a skirt that inhibited movement, and slippery sandals, Danna kept tripping.

That turned out to be fortuitous. Other journalists were down on the ground, too - not because of a poor choice of footwear, but to avoid the books, rocks, and panes of glass that were being hurled by demonstrators. "I thought, as long as we were down here, I'll introduce myself and get names and make contacts.

"Since then, the rage in Cairo has subsided [page 1]. Everyone knows the Iraqis are losing. People are mad at America, but they are dispirited."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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