Reporters on the Job

A Cheese Taster: You eat better on some reporting assignments than on others. Correspondent Simon Montlake says that he's a cheese lover, so his story about Tibetan yak cheese was an enjoyable assignment. "It was made even better by the fact that we traveled to the village with the dairy expert from the University of Wisconsin, who is their adviser," he says.

"The cheesemakers were trying out new recipes on the visiting dairy expert, and on my wife and me. We were guinea pigs as well as reporters. We had deep-fried yak cheese, yak cheese with chicken, yak cheese with salad, as well as yak cheese on its own," Simon says.

The basic Haloumi cheese, he says, was fairly bland, like tofu. "The Chinese are notoriously squeamish about cheese. This is the brand that's fairly compatible with Chinese dishes."

The other variety, he says, had a bit more bite. And they were experimenting with different flavors, including peppers and local herbs.

Window on Afghanistan: Choosing what kind of English class to speak to was a difficult choice for staff writer Scott Peterson as he put together today's story. He wanted to tap into young Afghans' thinking, and had hoped to find a class that might also prove to be small enough to yield candid interviews. "The most advanced class was all men. But I wanted to have a mix of men's and women's views," says Scott.

While the men and boys, outside class, were happy to discuss and joke about all sorts of issues, such as strategies for getting a girl to notice or speak to you, such candor evaporated in class. "One boy said his family did not discuss Afghanistan at the dinner table," says Scott. "In fact, it was the women – standing confidently beside their desks – who spoke most eloquently about their hopes and their families."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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