Reporters on the Job

Roasting in India: Journalists can often empathize with the old military adage of "hurry up and wait."

On Thursday, staff writer Scott Baldauf went to the press conference in New Delhi featuring the leaders of the US and India. It was held in the garden outside Hyderabad House, the former residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad, one of the richest princes of India under British colonial rule.

The podium, where President Bush and Prime Minister Singh eventually stood, was out in the sun, as were the seats where 100 or so reporters were sitting, deepening their tans. Scott notes that the TV cameras and crews waited underneath a large open-sided tent. "Wimps," sniffed the print reporters as they longed to swap places.

Scott found himself waiting and roasting next to the bureau chief of the Iranian News Agency. "I practiced my poor Farsi, gleaned from all the years of reporting in Afghanistan."

Scott had his questions ready. And the Iranian reporter also was primed. "He wanted to ask, 'Mr. Bush, why don't you come to Iran for a visit, after you are done with India?' "

But after the journalists waited 2-1/2 hours for the event to begin, the leaders only took four questions: two from the White House press corps traveling with the president, and two from the Indian diplomatic press corps.

Scott went home feeling that he had devoted a lot of time to doing little more than play an extra in an event that was as tightly stage-managed as the Westminster Dog Show.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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