Reporters on the Job
• Theme Song for an Uprising?: Contributor Daniel Pepper was at a rebel camp in eastern Chad last month. After doing his reporting, he rode with one of the rebel commanders, a young Chadian who used to live in Houston.
"We rode together on a punishing four-hour ride over some of the planet's most unpleasant terrain (think Motocross derby minus the fun, and a lot hotter)," says Daniel. They were headed toward El Geneina, Sudan, the capital of western Darfur and the transit point for Chinese contractors, Sudanese military, American and European aid workers, and Nigerian, Zambian, and South African peacekeepers.
"As the sun set on our left, we passed two burned out villages and miles of scorched earth. On my right, golden-yellow grasses stretched into the distance. From the cab of the Land Cruiser ahead of us, the armed adolescent boys - rebels - stuck out their tongues and laughed uproariously as they suddenly swerved to cut us off. We were drag-racing through the wasteland of Darfur," Daniel observes.
During the long journey, Daniel let the rebel commander, Beshir, listen to his iPod. "I only have a couple songs by the South African musician Johnny Clegg, which he played about a dozen times. I have some Jay-Z, and some LL Cool J. He played Tracy Chapman's 'Talkin' Bout a Revolution.' Twice."
• From a Safe Distance: David Enders has been reporting in - and about - the conflicted Baghdad neighborhood of Adhamiya for the past three years. But it's not safe for him to go there now. Today's story was reported via phone calls to a variety of neighborhood residents, including an Iraqi interpreter who used to work for David and an Iraqi cameraman whom he knows well. "It's not ideal, but it's how you have to cover many parts of Iraq today," he notes.
The last time David visited the neighborhood, in the summer of 2004, was to report about an attack on US troops. "I was asking people there what they'd seen, what had happened. After about 10 minutes, one of the people I was interviewing said, 'those two men are following you.' I high-tailed it out of there, and they followed me.
"That was the last time I've been out on the street in Adhamiya. I've made quick trips directly to a house of a known friend or source, but never lingered on the street."
David Clark Scott