Reporters on the Job

Cultural snapshot

BAGHDAD BALANCING ACT: Upon hearing news of the bombing at the UN headquarters Tuesday (page 1), the Monitor's Cameron Barr drove across the Iraqi capital to the scene. The UN offices at the Canal Hotel sit next to a canal. Most roads leading to the hotel were blocked. But Cameron was determined to get closer to the scene to verify what happened and to talk to relatives of UN workers gathered outside the hotel. Cameron tried to cross a footbridge in order to get closer. But the bridge was guarded by a US soldier who refused to let Cameron pass.

He spied two pipes spanning the canal and made his way across on tiptoe. Other journalists followed. "As far as I know, no one fell in," he adds.

OUT OF LIBERIA: Reporter Nicole Itano left Liberia Tuesday, running the gantlet of airport fees. "I've never been to a country that had two airport departure fees: a $25 'terminal fee,' and a $15 'airport fee.' I understand that there also used to be a $30 departure fee that you had to pay before leaving the capital for the airport," she says.

Nicole says that she's departing with mixed feelings after three weeks of intense reporting. "I won't miss the pancakes [the only item on the hotel breakfast menu]," she laughs. But she feels committed to continuing to cover events in Liberia. "Without international support, I don't think the country will make the transition to peace (page 7)."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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