Reporters on the Job

Simon Dawson/AP
Thousands competed Sunday in the Tough Guy Challenge at South Perton Farm in Staffordshire, England. The course has 21 obstacles including swamps, tunnels, and fire.

Interview With Evil: The most difficult part of reporting about the roots of violence in Kenya, says staff writer Scott Baldauf, was meeting one of the leaders of the brutality.

Scott had gone to a hospital in Nairobi looking for a Kenyan politician. It was just after a particularly brutal attack in the slum of Mathare, and the politician was there to comfort victims and their families (see story). Scott, too, met some of the injured. Then, an opportunity arose to meet a member of the ethnic militia involved in the attack.

"I was hoping that he wasn't someone who'd attacked the people I'd just visited in the hospital," says Scott.

In fact, he was the leader of the attack.

"I had expected to meet someone thuggish, someone stupid, and someone who unthinkingly responds to any challenge with violence. But he was none of these things. He was chillingly intelligent and articulate in explaining why brutality was a tool to instill fear in others, to stop other killers," says Scott. "It was a confrontation with evil, and it was not what I'd expected."

Scott says there was a moment, while they were sitting at a roadside cafe, when both of them jumped. "A passing motorcycle backfired. He told me that he was ready to run. We were nervous as cats in a room full of rocking chairs. I was terrified of him, and he was terrified of being caught [by the police]."

What Women Entrepreneurs? The first time Gayle Tzemach traveled to Afghanistan to report on women entrepreneurs in 2005, almost everyone thought the story was folly. "No one could imagine I could spend a week there meeting businesswomen," she says. "As I returned to Boston, even the US customs official remarked that interviewing Afghan businesswomen should take about half a day, and asked what I had done with the rest of my time in the country." Gayle had found plenty to write about then, and during her latest trip (see story).

David Clark Scott

World editor

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