Reporters on the Job

• That's Using Your Head: Flattery can sometimes get you somewhere. While attending a Baghdad press conference by Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi found the brief time allotted for questions was dwindling, and he hadn't been called on yet. "So I really waved my hand, but I also poked up my head, because I have a shaved head like Mr. Armitage, and I thought he might identify with me." The trick worked.

Mr. Armitage said he'd answered his last question, but then paused. "Well I'll take one more, because I like that guy's haircut."

And before asking his question, Howard says, "I assured him that I liked his, too."

• Mad at the Messenger: Sophie Arie has written about immigrants in Italy before, but today's story about Muslims was more difficult to get than most. She went to the main mosque in Rome just a few days after a court ruled that crucifixes must be removed from schools (page 7). "I tried to talk with them as they were leaving the mosque. Some refused to talk to me. Others were defensive. They felt they'd been treated badly by the Italian media," says Sophie. One man said he had been roughed up by an Italian TV crew charging onto the grounds of the Rome mosque.

She explained that she was with the foreign media and was writing a piece specifically designed to show the moderate Muslim view of life in Italy. She also appealed to their sense of fairness, and several agreed to speak with her.

"They were angry at the Muslim activist who brought the case, because he doesn't represent the majority of Muslims, and was creating a problem between Muslims and ordinary Italians," Sophie says. "They were angry with the Italian media for sensationalizing the rift."

- David Clark Scott

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