Reporters on the Job
• Diplomatic Duty on a Western Front: Correspondent Nicholas Blanford went to the Syrian-Iraq border (this page) on a trip organized by the Syrian information ministry. "It's the only way to go. Last week, a reporter from a British newspaper tried to visit without permission. He drove the nine hours across the desert, got out of the car, and was immediately told by Syrian intelligence agents he must leave," says Nick.
Nick was accompanied by a Syrian colonel and about a dozen Syrian journalists. When they arrived at the border, there wasn't much to see at first. But as the group set up cameras, US soldiers stationed on the Iraqi side arrived to investigate. "They fanned out with their weapons ready," says Nick. "Our colonel became nervous. He asked me, as the token English speaker, to explain who we were. The American soldiers heard me, gave a friendly wave, and left."
• Filing From Somewhere in Iraq: Technology is great, when there's enough battery power. Correspondent Annia Ciezadlo found herself stuck on a mountainous road in Kurdistan with her deadline - and darkness - fast approaching. "I thought we could make it to Arbil, but the road was slower than expected," says Annia. With her laptop battery fading, she pulled over and dictated (via satellite phone) today's story about the Iraqi insurgency (page 1).
• Houses Destroyed: The photo caption that accompanied the Dec. 20 story "Israeli peace overture follows Gaza destruction" incorrectly attributes the number of houses destroyed to Israeli army sources. The army did not specify a number. The figure came from UN officials and Palestinians.
David Clark Scott