Reporters on the Job

Working in the Dark : Staff writer Dan Murphy says he really can't complain about a lack of electricity in Baghdad. His hotel provides him far more hours per day of juice than most Iraqis get (page 1). "I only go without air conditioning for about eight or nine hours per day," he says. In a country where the summer temperatures often exceed 110 degrees F., Dan's grateful for the service he receives. In a good Baghdad neighborhood, the norm is to get two hours of electricity every four hours, for a total of eight hours daily.

But even in his case, the fluctuating supply of electricity can mean that occasionally Dan can't send his stories to editors via e-mail. When the city power goes out, his hotel turns to its two generators. The larger of the two is now running almost constantly. "It's starting to overheat and wear out. They can't use it all the time. So they crank up the smaller backup generator. That one can't supply the whole hotel, so my Internet service comes up for only 15 or 20 seconds at a time. It's hard to get an e-mail off in that tiny window."

Waterlogged in Bangladesh: For today's story on flood preparations in Bangladesh (this page), correspondent David Montero visited some of the most remote areas of the country, reporting in the rain without shoes and "struggling to keep my notes dry," he says.

Along the way he was struck by the innovations villagers have developed to cope with the floods. In the small village of Banturghat, he met a family making a portable hut of bamboo and dried rice stalks. He was also shown a simple raft made of banana-tree trunks, often the only form of transportation during the floods. "I was amazed to see how villagers have adapted by becoming completely mobile during the floods - livestock, kitchens, even houses are all moved and set up on dry land, so the village can start over again."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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