Reporters on the Job
• A PROPER BRITISH SALUTE: Reporter Nicholas Blanford has worked on stories in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and elsewhere on a number of occasions. But being British is often a handicap.
"I normally get a lot of hostility because they blame the British for the handover of Palestine to Israel in 1948. And every Palestinian knows about the Balfour Declaration in 1917 - a letter by Lord Balfour that's seen as laying the ground work for a Jewish homeland," says Nicholas.
But he didn't get the usual frosty reception from Hassan Issa (page 7). "He was excited to meet me. He'd served in the British Army in North Africa during World War II. This elderly man proudly stood up and marched a few steps and saluted. He barked the only words he knew in English. "Yes, Sergeant Major," and recited his serial number.
• MINORITY REPORTER: How does the Monitor's Scott Baldauf handle a story like today's piece looking at justice in India and treatment of Christian missionaries (this page)? What kind of reception does he get, working for a newspaper with the word "Christian" in the title.
"When I do stories about the Christian minority in India, I am very conscious of how the paper is perceived. If anything, I probably overcompensate to be sure I get the other side because some of the politicians that espouse Hindu values are very suspicious of Western press. I work hard to give both sides equal say," says Scott.
He recalls an interview with a minister of India's ruling party last year. He expressed surprise during the interview at my non-combative approach. Apparently, his aides had primed him and they had been suspicious of my motives, and kept asking me about the paper's positions. Of course, that gave me me an opportunity to tell the minister that the Monitor was established to counter the very bias he was worried about," says Scott.
David Clark Scott