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Reporters on the Job

A CHANGED ATMOSPHERE: The Monitor's Scott Peterson returned to the home of a former Iraqi colonel whom he had first interviewed just days after the collapse of Baghdad. Back then, Scott recalls, the colonel felt hunted. "He was reluctant to talk (especially to an American), insisted on anonymity, and required certain details of his story to be masked to ensure that he could not be identified. He was nervous about an American helicopter hovering over the neighborhood. When my satellite phone rang - providing a traceable signal - he ordered me to turn it off.

"This time was much more relaxed, and he told me I could use his name, Colonel Hassib, in the story," Scott says. "He also said he couldn't wait to join the new army, though if he were disqualified because of his high rank, he would have nothing to do but sit there at home, under his ceiling fan."

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CONGO CAMPING: While Nicole Itano worked on today's story about bringing order to the Congolese city of Bunia (page 7), she experienced for herself some of the hardships of local residents. "The journalists all set up camp in the yard next to the UN headquarters - it was the only place we felt safe from the shooting. We borrowed water from a tap in the adjacent refugee camp. And there were no toilets. We used the toilets in the UN headquarters until they got tired of all the traffic. Then, I had to sneak in at 2 a.m."

Nicole says that several journalists hired a refugee who offered to make them dinner. "We would give him $5 per person, and he'd go buy chicken and rice and tomatoes at the local market. By the time we left, the price had risen to $10, but it was worth it," she says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

CORRECTION

BRITISH WOMEN AT WIMBLEDON: A story in Monday's paper, "British play host, but not tennis, at Wimbledon", misstated the number of British women competing in this year's tournament. The correct number is five. They are Julie Pullin, Jane O'Donoghue, Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong, and Lucie Ahl.