Reporters on the Job

Heard on TV: At Al Iraqiya headquarters in Baghdad, correspondent Charles Levinson was given a tour of the TV station's two main studios. They're where they shoot the news and the station's talk shows, including "Good Morning Iraq."

The set, says Charles, bears a striking resemblance to its US counterpart. "It seems an odd legacy to leave in Iraq, but India took to cricket in due time, so why shouldn't Iraqis take to Katie Couric?" he says.

As he followed his tour guide through another door, Charles's cellphone began ringing. "Reception in Iraq is so bad that generally you have to scream in the phone to be heard. I was yelling into my Nokia while walking onto the set of the live weather broadcast and was quickly swarmed by angry technicians who were none too pleased to have a loud American drown out the forecast.

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"We print journalists never get to be on TV, not like our well-groomed counterparts, but a least my voice was a little bit of background nuisance on Iraqi television."

Charles says his Iraqi interpreter was shocked to learn that the weatherman doesn't stand in front of a real map. "How does he know where to point?" he asked Charles.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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