Reporters on the Job

See No Media : When staff writer Scott Peterson first wrote about the Tehran mayor and city council in 1997, reformists were in charge - and Iranians told him again and again about how proud they were of a "doer" taking on the city's problems. In his top-floor office with an expansive view of the city, the mayor treated Scott to sweet tea, and even gave him a signed copy of a photo book of the capital.

"The current hard-line city council seems to have a different press policy," says Scott. His interest piqued by tales of efficiency told by the city engineer (this page), Scott put in an official request to speak to the mayor and the city council. Iranian press officials said there was little chance of an interview - the council members rarely spoke to Western journalists, much less an American. They were right: Scott's requests for an interview went unanswered.

Beijing Street Demos : Staff writer Robert Marquand says that he saw anti-Japanese sentiments expressed in the streets of Beijing last July after China lost the Asia Cup soccer finals to Japan. "But it was a small mob - nothing like what went on over the weekend, in terms of scale or level of organization (page 1)," he says.

Was any of the anger directed at Bob as an American journalist? "I was often asked what media I was with before a protester would answer my questions. When I asked why, they told me they would not speak to a Japanese reporter. There is an element of anti-Americanism in Chinese nationalism, but it was not on display this weekend."

Some of the protesters were shouting "Boycott Toshiba! Don't buy Nikon!" Bob approached one boisterous young man filming the event with a Japanese-made camera. When asked about the inconsistency of his actions and his sloganeering, he replied that 'We're not going to buy any more!' "

David Clark Scott
World editor

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