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Reporters on the Job

STOPPING TIME: When contributor William Boston first arrived in Germany in 1986, he visited then East Berlin and took a stroll down Oranienburger Strasse. "I stumbled across the old central synagogue," Bill says. "The towers were broken, wooden beams hung into the half-destroyed building, and birds flew out it. It was one of those 'German moments' where suddenly one is thrust into the past. I thought to myself, 'It could be 1938.' The eastern Communists refused to repair the synagogue, saying the fascists were all in the West and they should pay for it. Once the pride of Berlin's Jewish community, the synagogue was repaired after unification in 1990."

STAY THE COURSE: The Monitor's Cameron Barr, whose hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction is featured in today's paper, had various working titles for his opus. "For a time, we called it 'the incredible shrinking story' because the more reporting we did, the less we had," he says, referring to his conversations with a Dutch journalist with whom he shared the work. "After a while, our refrain became, 'It's still a good story,' as we reassured ourselves that it was still worthwhile to dig." In the end, the story became one that offers insight into what looking for WMD really means.

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Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

Survey says...

BRIBING SCRIBES: How vulnerable are journalists around the world to having their palms greased?

One new study says bribery of the media is most likely to occur in China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, while journalists in Finland got top scores for resisting temptation.

Katerina Tsetsura, a doctoral candidate at Purdue University in Indiana, and Dean Kruckeberg, communications professor at the University of Northern Iowa, ranked 66 nations on the likelihood that daily print journalists would seek or accept cash from government officials, businesses, or other sources. The study was sponsored by the Turkish paper Hürriyet.

Second place went to Denmark, New Zealand, and Switzerland. The US tied for fifth with Canada and three others.

The authors measured countries on eight factors: history of self-determination by citizens; comprehensive, enforced corruption laws; governmental accountability; high adult literacy; high liberal and professional education of journalists; well-established and enforceable journalism codes of ethics; free press, free speech, and free flow of information; and high media competition.


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