Reporters on the Job

NO COMMENT: Monitor contributor Nicole Itano says that Charles Taylor, Liberia's president, has always liked the spotlight (page 7). But these days, his attitude has changed. "He feels the press has really turned against him now," Nicole says. "He feels he hasn't been treated fairly."

The president's newly sour attitude has created an element of edginess - not to mention elusiveness - in his relations with the press.

"My colleagues and I went to Taylor's house today (Sunday), and after an hour's wait, his assistant came out and said no one could go in except the Reuters reporters - and they could tape an interview, but they'd have to leave the tape there. Later, he changed his mind, announcing that National Geographic would be the chosen one to come inside. The previous day, I waited outside the party headquarters with about 50 journalists to hear what Taylor was going to say. But then he came out, got directly into his car - and looked at us with utter disdain."

PLAY BESUBORU! For many Japanese, the story of the battle between the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners has hometown heroes written all over it (page 7), says the Monitor's Bob Marquand. Hideki Matsui of the Yankees and the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki are big news - and they're luring kids back to the diamond after a flirtation with that other sport in the lead-up to last year's soccer World Cup. "At a field in downtown Tokyo, a number of the 8- to 10-year-old members of the Azuba Kids were sporting Ichiro and Godzilla (Matsui) T-shirts," Bob says. "The coach said enrollment was up because of the excitement over these two. They are clearly major role models."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

Cultural snapshot

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