Reporters on the Job
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP
• Eyewitness Testimony: In Tuesday's story about a suicide bombing in Dimona, Israel, staff writer Ilene Prusher spoke to a lawyer who described how he found someone he thought was a victim of the blast. He undid the man's jacket and saw an explosive belt.
Later, Ilene learned that a doctor interviewed on the scene described himself doing the same thing. "It made me wonder: who was the reliable source? Did one open the jacket while the other watched? In the telling, did one of them become the key actor instead of the observer? Did someone overhear the story and want to inflate their connection to the events?" she says.
Today, she reported that the bombing prompted fresh calls in Israel to build security fences and walls. "I got into a discussion today with another journalist about this incident." Journalists often consider it important to see for themselves and speak to eyewitnesses. But this story gave Ilene and her colleague pause. "We wondered: Were they lying or traumatized or confused? How reliable are eyewitnesses, even right after an event?" she says.
• Indian Religious Hybrids: Correspondent Mian Ridge drove through a rural section of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, doing reporting for today's story about attacks on Christians. At one point, she spotted a tall pole covered in a white cloth and stopped to ask what it was. "It looked religious but I had no idea what it was. I was told it probably belonged to the Satnami community, a sect that broke away from mainstream Hinduism in the 18th century. Some Satnamis, as they are called, are said to follow seven commandments (similar to the Ten Commandments) and some claim a revelation from Jesus Christ. It reminded me that you can be shown a map and be told, this is a Christian area, this is a Hindu area, but on the ground in India, things are never that simple," says Mian.
– David Clark Scott