• Bob and Bob Dylan: Journalists often work to build relationships with key sources. So, when staff writer Robert Marquand found he had a spare Bob Dylan concert ticket, he invited one of the contacts who has helped in his coverage of the French elections (see story). The setting couldn't be more appropriate. "Dylan was playing in the same sports amphitheater that middle-way candidate François Bayrou had filled the previous week," says Bob. He and his source spent the 20-minute intermission talking French politics. Bob didn't charge the Monitor for the tickets.
And how was the concert?
"Dylan played nonstop through both 40-minute sessions. He's lost none of his edge. If anything, he's playing harder and appears to be enjoying himself more than ever," says Bob.
Did Dylan make any political statements? "Not about the French elections. But he did seem to be commenting on the US political scene with his song selection. The opening was "Cat's in the Well."
• A Long Gestation Period: Sometimes the gestation for a story in Iran can be years, says staff writer Scott Peterson. After first writing about Iranian Jews in 1999, he decided to revisit the story in 2004. The refusal of the Iranian judo champion to wrestle an Israeli at the Athens Olympics looked like a good news peg for the story. In early 2005, Scott visited his judo training arena and the national coach, and spoke to Arash Miresmaili by phone. But the athlete was traveling, and it wasn't until two years later, during his latest visit to Iran, that Scott was finally able to get official approval for the interview. Of course, since 2004, there have been other news pegs. Iran hosted a Holocaust denial conference in December, and during Scott's visit he attended a tour of Jewish sites for foreign diplomats (see story). "Everyone was there. I got three weeks worth of work done in one day," he says.
David Clark Scott