Reporters on the Job

QUOTABLE SOURCE: The Monitor's driver in Baghdad is a former soldier named Adnan. Dan Murphy says he's filled with tales and information about both the old and the new Iraq, told in halting but rapidly improving English, with assistance from the Monitor's interpreter, Haider. On Dan's second night in Baghdad, they drove from cafe to cafe, chatting to Iraqis about the security situation, the US presence, and the paradox between the relief many feel that Saddam is gone, and the much greater risks they face from crime and instability in their day-to-day lives.

Adnan, Dan says, provided the quote of the night: "Look, Baghdad's streets were more secure before, but that was because the regime relied on fear. Living in fear makes it impossible to ever feel safe." While Dan says he'd like to have used it in the story, that could get him into the habit of quoting Adnan every day.

DEADLINE DASH: Coping with early Monitor deadlines has always been a challenge while on the road, and no more so than for Scott Peterson in Chechnya yesterday. The presidential poll got off to an early start. By 10:30, the press buses had seen the shoo-in presidential contender, Akhmad Kadyrov, cast his ballot, and them later hold a press conference.

"By the time we began going to other polling stations, it was getting closer to our 3 p.m. local deadline," Scott says, adding that he was envious of colleagues with deadlines practically half a day later.

"I had to write the entire piece while rattling along between stations," Scott says. He missed the last two and arrived Russian barracks at the airport - just in time to file.

- Amelia Newcomb

Deputy World editor

Cultural snapshot

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