Reporters on the Job
• A STORY WITHIN A STORY: Geraldine Sealey visited Zambia for six weeks on a Pew international fellowship for journalists. She went there to write about AIDS orphans when she came across today's story about property-grabbing (page 7). "I would be talking to widows and they'd mention in passing a 'misunderstanding with relatives' or 'my husband's brother-in-law took the house.' I began to realize how critical this issue was to dealing with the orphan crisis in Africa. Two-thirds of the people I interviewed spoke of property grabbing," says Geraldine.
Tamara Zulu, the woman in the lead of her story, already had a reputation as an excellent tailor who specialized in traditional outfits. "After her sewing machine was taken, she rented one and, largely on her own, has recovered financially," Geraldine says. She has six machines now, and just got a microcredit loan from USAID for $200 to expand her business. She wants to open a school to teach orphans how to be tailors.
"One thing kept coming to mind while I was in Zambia," says Geraldine. "The obstacles are so great that you have to be a heroic individual to be a success story."
• HOW TO INTERVIEW A NORTH KOREAN: The Monitor's Robert Marquand has interviewed about two dozen North Korean refugees in the past couple of years. By trial and error, he's learned that the environment for a successful interview is important. "If they're not comfortable, or you ask questions too directly, they'll freeze up. North Koreans are not used to being asked questions about their private lives and they worry that if they're identified, their family members could suffer."
For today's story (page 1), Bob met Baek Yi initially at a conference, and then arranged to do the interview a few days later with two of her friends at a Dunkin' Donuts she frequented in Seoul. "It was a comfortable environment for her, just a block from her English class," says Bob. "After a heart-shaped doughnut or two, she opened up and just started talking."
• DANGER ZONE: The brutal killing of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, in Pakistan, left most reporters weighing the risks of reporting difficult stories. The Monitor's Scott Baldauf was no exception. But working on today's story about Afghan border guards (page 7), gave him a different perspective on the risks. "The average Afghan fighter is often pm the front line, has to negotiate disputes between tribes or families, and gets sent to search mudwall compounds that are suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda hideouts," says Scott. "They face much greater dangers than I do."
David Clark Scott