• Deutschland! Reporter Mariah Blake makes no pretense of being a soccer fan. But living in Hamburg, Germany, it's difficult not to get swept up in the swirl of World Cup events.
"On the opening night, I went to a birthday party. It ended up being 40 people gathered in front of a TV shouting 'Deutschland!" says Mariah. Over the past few weeks, she's had a front-row seat to watch a society obsessed with the Cup. "It's everywhere. Every cafe is packed with people watching it on TV."
As part of her reporting for today's story about German nationalism, she went to the Heiligengeistfeld (Holy Ghost Field) where more than 50,000 fans gathered Monday to watch Germany beat Ecuador on a 788-square-foot TV screen. But when Mariah got there, the gates were locked because it was already at capacity. Later, toward the end of the game, she managed to get inside the viewing area. "The crowd was singing 'We are the Champions' [by Queen] in English," she notes.
• Windows on Iraq: One of the few pleasures of covering a story as dangerous and ongoing as the conflict in Iraq, says staff writer Scott Peterson, is the ability to check up on people you have written about before. Scott met one of the sources in today's story in 1998, and they enjoyed cooking dinners together shortly before the war. He met another family after the 2003 invasion, and has quietly charted the ebb and flow of their lives ever since. "There is no single image that can tell the story of Iraq anymore – there are just too many layers, themes, and personalities," says Scott. "But by telling the stories of a few individuals, you can begin to get a sense of Iraqis' perceptions and reactions to the conflict around them. Each of their threads, their narratives make up the fabric of a larger history here."
David Clark Scott