• Thanks for the Primo Seat: Correspondent Nicholas Blanford went out to report on the hearts and minds effort by UN peacekeepers in Lebanon (see story) this past weekend. His plan was to go on patrol with a Spanish unit. But he wasn't prepared for the foul weather.
"I was given the dubious honor of occupying the open hatch atop the commander's armored personnel carrier. I had a helmet, goggles, and a flak jacket but my upper half felt pretty exposed to the driving, cold rain. It was an extremely uncomfortable half-hour that gave me a taste of what the soldiers must endure at times," he says.
• Editors Watched in Nigeria: The story about Nigeria's first anticorruption cop (see story) was reported during a trip to the West African nation. I traveled there as part of a Gatekeeper Editors Fellowship organized by the International Reporting Project (IRP) at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Twelve editors from leading US print and broadcasting news organizations toured the country from Jan. 23 – Feb. 1. The IRP is funded by a variety of donors including Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
We met with many of the key political players including the president of Nigeria. Partly because the political campaign for the presidency was heating up, we found ourselves – and our interviews – the subject of Nigerian national media coverage, including one headline based on a press release issued even before meeting the vice president of Nigeria. It read: "Atiku Cautions Visiting American Editors. Raises Fresh Question on President's Wealth."
When the interview with Vice President Atiku Abubakar did occur at 10 p.m. on a Sunday evening, the Lagos-based Vanguard newspaper ran a full-transcript of the meeting two days later.
David Clark Scott