Reporters on the Job

Famous Newspaper Reporter: For today's story about the rise in suicide bombers in Afghanistan, staff writer Scott Baldauf traveled to Kandahar and managed to get Mohammad Hanif, one of three new unofficial Taliban spokesman, on the phone.

Apparently the old Taliban spokesman, Abdul Latif Hakimi, was captured in Pakistan last year and handed over to Afghan authorities.

While there's no directory assistance for the Taliban, Scott says that getting the spokesman's number wasn't too difficult. Most Afghan journalists know somebody, who knows someone who can put you in touch with the Taliban.

But after the interview, Scott learned that Mr. Hanif called up the individual who had provided Scott the number. "He wanted to know more about who I was and my Pashto interpreter," says Scott. "The individual told Hanif that I work for a very famous newspaper, and that I am a very good journalist. It kind of makes you blush."

Olympian Traffic: Staff writer Peter Ford was surprised to find on his visit to Turin that the city has used the Winter Olympics as an opportunity not to improve its traffic problem, but make it worse. "The authorities decided to build two enormous underground parking lots in the city center, encouraging drivers to bring their vehicles into town," he says. "Soon there will be even more cars taking up room in lanes meant for trams, and making public transport even less efficient," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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