Reporters on the Job

A Wife's Perspective: The general rule in war-zone reporting is to do what the local people do. If they drive down a street, then it's probably safe for you to drive down it too. If they turn around suddenly, follow their lead. But what if there are no towns people?

Sunday, staff writer Scott Baldauf arrived in Najaf to find the city streets almost empty (see story). "All of the families who had taken us in a week ago had left town, anticipating a major battle. Iraqi Army snipers had taken up positions at key crossroads, we were told by those few residents who remained, and Iraqi police were under orders to arrest journalists.

"Unfortunately, with no place to stay and no safe way of moving around, we had to leave. I say, 'unfortunately.' My wife at home, upon hearing the news by mobile phone text messaging, wrote, 'Thank God.' "

Low Profile in Russia: AIDS activists in Russia have plenty of support abroad, Scott Peterson found when he visited hot-line offices in southern Moscow. The walls of the AIDS Infoshare office were covered with portraits of members of the group taking part in panel discussions with people like UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a handful of other luminaries. But despite the high profile of the AIDS crisis outside Russia, Scott says the workers were deeply frustrated that the issue was getting so little attention in Russia itself (see story).

"They lament that they have no Rock Hudson or Magic Johnson to spark a national debate about HIV/AIDS," Scott says, "though Russians did take notice when Elton John and [British soccer star] David Beckham associated themselves with the issue," Scott says.

AIDS Infoshare is raising awareness later this year, by helping to sponsor a photo exhibit that will be shown at the Russian State Duma - showing famous Russian celebrities with AIDS patients.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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