Reporters on the Job

A Change of View: Monitor staffer Ilene Prusher has just taken up her new post as the paper's Middle East correspondent (page 1), a move that takes her back to a story she last covered more than three years ago. But while her return to Jerusalem has brought her back to familiar ground, her house- hunting ventures have underscored how much things have changed.

"When I was last here, I lived in Abu Por, a neighborhood in the southeast section of Jerusalem," Ilene says. "It's half Jewish, half Arab, and there was a nice sense of coexistence. I could look out of my apartment and see a pastoral view of desert and hilltops."

So Ilene returned there to check out housing options. The view now includes something that looks like the beginning of a stadium - but it's the barrier that Israel is building, snaking along the hilltops. "It brought home how much has changed here, politically and physically," Ilene says. She hasn't yet decided where she'll live.

Who Are You Really? For today's story on Indonesia's intelligence agency (BIN) (page 7), contributor Kelly McEvers interviewed at length a recent former chief of BIN, who was also a lieutenant general in former President Suharto's army. But getting useful comment proved difficult. "I took a long cab ride to the outskirts of the city, and chatted with him for a long time, but realized after a while that he was a conspiracy theorist about everything. He challenged a lot of my questions that were based on generally accepted facts. The reason became clear later that week, when I saw him quoted in an Indonesian news service story saying that US intelligence agents were posing as journalists."

He didn't seem to be alone in this view, Kelly says. "I had to jump through a lot of hoops to verify with people who I was as I reported this piece."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

Cultural snapshot
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