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Reporters on the Job

Just-in-time Journalism: Staff writer Ilene Prusher arrived Wednesday at the hospital in Ramallah just as Nabil Amr, the Palestinian politician who was shot Tuesday (page 1), was being wheeled into public view for the first time. He was being transported to Jordan for treatment. She was surprised to find no other foreign reporters around - just local Arab media.

"I thought that I was getting there late. The door locks on our rental car got messed up and the car kept behaving as if we were breaking into it and the alarm kept going off," says Ilene. "We ended up leaving the car and walking the rest of the way to the hospital on foot."

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At the hospital, Ilene bumped into Mr. Amr's secretary who was collecting bouquets of flowers from well-wishers. "She was crying and didn't want to talk, but pointed me in the direction of Amr's son. People were circling around to give condolences, so I think he was a little overwhelmed. We didn't speak long," she says. "It's one of the more difficult reporting assignments: plying people for details about a tragedy when they're upset. "

Starting a Press Conference: Correspondent Gretchen Peters didn't expect there to be an opportunity Wednesday to interview Jonathan Idema, the American accused of torturing Afghans in Kabul. "The Afghan courtroom was crowded and all the attention was focused elsewhere," says Gretchen. "Idema standing with the two other defendants in the block, and I noticed that Afghan court officials didn't seem to be keeping people away. I climbed over a railing and went up to him and started asking questions. Other journalists spotted us and began pushing and shoving for position. "An impromptu press conference" - and today's story (this page) - "developed."

David Clark Scott
World editor


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