Reporters on the Job

Same Degree, No Separation: Monitor Photo Editor Alfredo Sosa had planned to hitch a ride at the beginning of Scotland's Crinan Canal and photograph the whole trip from a boat. But when he told the keeper of Lock 1 about his plan, she explained that it took about eight hours to go through all 15 locks. He figured he would walk the nine miles.

"That's how I met Fraser MacIver, an eccentric Canadian-born painter who lives in a converted wagon on the canal's banks," says Alfredo. "He saw me walking on the other side and started chatting from his side of the canal. He being Canadian and I Venezuelan-born, I figured our paths had never crossed. But I was mistaken. It turned out we went to the same art school."

But Alfredo didn't share this information. "He was really chatty. He went to the extent of jumping in the water and swimming across to hand-deliver a signed postcard of his artwork. When I saw him coming, I turned my Rhode Island School of Design cap backward so he wouldn't read it. Otherwise, I would still be there talking!"

O Brothel, Where Art Thou? Staff writer Scott Baldauf says that Gowhar Nazir Shah, a Kashmiri journalist acting as his translator, told him no one from the neighborhood would talk about the brothel allegedly run by Sabina. Already, the publicity had hurt the community, Gowhar told him. "But after getting a few shrugs, we found a few young men ready to talk," Scott says. "Mostly, they told us how the brothel had broken trust. But one then told us that he had been instrumental in getting the place shut down. He had been a kind of spy for the Islamist activist, Asiya Andrabi, he said, reporting on the traffic coming and going. He seemed reluctant to speak at first, especially when he found out that I am Christian, but eventually told the whole story. Gowhar told me he had seen this fellow on previous visits to the neighborhood, but he had always kept mum. Perhaps it helped being an outsider, or at least one who might not be taking sides."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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