Reporters on the Job

When in Doubt, Ask Your Wife: When one of the experts correspondent Simon Montlake was interviewing mentioned that New York University's Tisch School of the Arts was setting up a branch in Singapore, it didn't mean much to him – he's from Britain. But his wife, who lived in New York, filled him in. And he went to see it.

He met several students in the first-ever class (seeking an MFA in Film Television Production). "One was an American, from Los Angeles (half the class is from the US), and I asked him why he'd chosen the program. His mother was from Malaysia, but he'd never lived there. More important to him was the idea of being 'a pioneer,' helping to shape a new school and be part of an international scene of aspiring filmmakers. So he decided on NYU Singapore instead of New York City," says Simon.

But a woman he interviewed (one of only two Singaporeans) in the program said that her parents wanted her to go to Tisch in New York as it was more established and prestigious and didn't run the risk of closure (like the Australian university that folded in June). But having already studied in Japan, she wanted to study at home (see story).

One-Stop Shopping: Embedding with the US military in Afghanistan (or Iraq) often works two ways, says staff writer Scott Peterson. You can be caught in transit for days on end, or stuck with a unit with little going on and nothing to report. Or you can drop down by helicopter out of nowhere, and find that so much is going on, your notebooks fill up fast. That was the case when Scott and two colleagues arrived in Paktia Province with the US Army's 4-73 Cavalry Squadron. They slept in their sleeping bags on a high ridge line the first night, and the next day were driven in Humvees to a US military-Afghan medical and veterinary clinic.

"It was like one-stop shopping for a journalist," says Scott, who emptied two pens of ink that day. "Everyone was there, and I found every voice I was looking for – American and Afghan Army officers, police officers, and an anthropologist. In addition to the clinic, there was an effort to solve a tribal dispute, which drew elders from the sparring tribes (see story).

– David Clark Scott

World editor

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