• Off Sides: To cover the first day of soccer practice for Mexico's national team (page 1), staff writer Danna Harman traveled to a stadium outside of Mexico City. Journalists were not allowed into the practice, but could wait outside and chat with players as they arrived in fancy cars.
Danna headed off gamely, figuring she might be one of just a few observers. Instead, she found a mob scene. "Cameramen and reporters were all but jumping atop the incoming cars," she says. "I was the only foreign correspondent and soon became a side show, with all the local reporters wanting to interview me for the US perspective. I tried to tell them I was not a sports reporter and didn't know who scored what in the last match or how the US team was faring in training."
Her new fan club would have none of it. "They followed me everywhere, snapping photos and asking when the US team was arriving, where they would stay, what my forecast was."
That night, Danna showed up on every sports newscast. "The next morning, I got three e-mails from Mexicans who saw me and tracked down my address," Danna says. "They told me I looked very nice on TV, and offered to help me understand soccer a bit better."
• Heartfelt Search: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf had been in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, just an hour when he met a family searching for a child lost in the tsunami (this page). "I checked into my hotel and asked my driver to take me to the part of town hardest hit. He took me to the fishing community of Lam Pulo, where we saw painted messages on crumbling homes saying, 'Wanted: a baby named Ananda, lost in tsunami.' "
The message directed anyone with information to come to the nearest refugee camp. "That's where we went. As a father of small children, I found myself naturally asking whether I would give up hope, or persist. I imagine I would be like these parents, persisting despite the overwhelming odds."
Deputy world editor