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Reporters on the Job

MANY TONGUES, ONE STORY: Tony Wesolowsky lives in the Czech Republic, but has traveled and reported in Poland numerous times. He doesn't speak Polish, at least not well. But for today's story about a small town with "a terrible secret" (this page) that wasn't a problem. "I speak Czech and Russian, and Polish is close enough so I understand what's going on," says Tony. He interviewed the mayor of Jedwabne, Poland, by asking questions in Russian (four years at university, two years living in Moscow), and the mayor answered in Polish. Tony admits that having his Czech wife along helped. "She understands Polish even better than I do."

THE DOUGHNUT CONNECTION: Today's story on Kuwait's new health-insurance plan (page 7) was partly inspired by a reporter's taste for junk food. Cameron Barr was walking down a particularly gray and lifeless boulevard in Kuwait's business district when he spied a small, brightly decorated doughnut shop staffed by a lone Filipino employee. "It was like an Edward Hopper painting," he says, "the one of the diner." The employee provided some insights into the life of foreign workers in the sheikdom. Because the shop was empty, Cameron could interview her outside the presence of her boss. "Plus," he says, "I like doughnuts."

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Honey-glazed or jelly?

David Clark Scott World editor

BEST OF THE REST..

INDIAN ROPE TRICK: It was a fake story run by the Chicago Tribune 111 years ago as part of an effort to sell more papers, says a Scottish academic after a five-year investigation. In the story, from India, a boy reportedly climbs an unsupported rope and disappears at the top. The trick has baffled magicians and scientists for years, reports the Independent of London. Peter Lamont of Edinburgh University revealed the truth at Edinburgh's International Science Festival Saturday.

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