Reporters on the Job

Window on Baghdad: Correspondent Charles Levinson thought he had found a gem of a source for his story on replacement windows when he found Ali Sayed, whose windows have been blown out five times by bombs.

"But since then, I have stumbled across a number of other people with very similar stories, people whose windows have been shattered not once, not twice, but several times because of car bombs and mortars," Charles says.

He says that shattered windows have become so commonplace for Ali Sayed that he keeps a tape measure in his dining room. "It seems he never bothered to put it back after the most recent explosion," says Charles. "He says the windows will shatter again, and he'll have to measure the frames again, so why bother putting it away?"

Charles also found it striking that most of those who are profiting, in one sense, from the destruction, have a dark sense of humor about it. "It's a sort of grim realization that they are raking in profits from the misfortune of others. They didn't seem to really mean it. It was more a way to deal with the unusual hand they'd been dealt amid the chaos of postwar Iraq," says Charles.

Solo Style: While Peter Ford admires the extraordinary endurance of cross-country skiers, the crowds and the razzmatazz that accompany competitions such as the Olympic Games seem to him to spoil the charm of the sport. Peter recalls idyllic winter mornings during his stint as Moscow correspondent, when he would set off alone on skis from his dacha into the forest, gliding in utter silence through the overnight snow. "Aside from the opportunity to commune with nature," Peter says, "that kind of cross-country skiing, though strenuous, had another advantage over competition skiing: I could stop when I wanted to."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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