Reporters on the Job

Hard for a Parent: To achieve a degree of objectivity and enough composure to complete an assignment, journalists normally find ways of distancing themselves from gruesome stories. But staff writer Scott Peterson - a veteran of covering wars in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, as well as the genocide in Rwanda - says that the days following the Russia hostage saga have been among of the most challenging of his career (page 1).

"The fact that so many of the victims are children and that such innocence was the target changes the dynamic for everyone," says Scott, himself a father of four young children, two of them school age. Three days of mass funerals and countless stories of grief and despair have made keeping his professional composure difficult.

The toughest moment came at the parking lot turned into a makeshift morgue. "In Rwanda, because hundreds of thousands died, the outpouring of emotion from the few survivors came later," he says. "But when you watch parents inspect several hundred open body bags for their own kids - and hear their piercing shrieks at the horrific moment of recognition - it is almost impossible to hold back your tears."

Weimar's Wonder: For correspondent Andreas Tzortzis, reporting on the fire in the rare book library of Weimar (page 7) was something of a personal cultural awakening. "The city oozes with pride over its cultural heritage," he says. "I didn't expect people to have this kind of close relationship to a building that housed books. From the waitress at a cafe to person in charge of the library, all seem very aware of the special literary heritage it holds for for Germany and Europe as a whole. They relished the opportunity to sit in same chairs used by Goethe and Schiller."

Andreas was inspired to brush up on Germany's literary greats. "I have Goethe's Faust on my shelf but haven't read it. Perhaps it's now time," he says.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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