Reporters on the Job

Rockets and Shells: Correspondent Nick Blanford wasn't looking for Hizbullah fighters when he arrived in Srifa, a town in southern Lebanon that had been "flattened" by Israeli bombs. He was with three other journalists, the first reporters to arrive after the bombings, to survey the damage. The two Hizbullah men Nick spoke with for today's story just emerged from rubble, he said Wednesday, speaking from a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon.

Some journalists have not been welcomed by Hizbullah soldiers. But these were "perfectly friendly and gave us a guided tour through the village," Nick said as the sound of Katyusha rocket fire could be heard over the phone.

In Serif, Nick said Israeli drones were flying over head. "The whole time we were wondering whether the Israelis were watching us," he says. "It was very unnerving because the Israelis were bombing the village next door."

Now, he says, most of the villages of southern Lebanon are completely empty and rarely "a soul to be seen throughout the towns."

To let Israeli drones know he's a journalist, Nick drives a rented BMW marked with "TV" on the roof. Before he goes out to the villages and towns in the south, he contacts the UN to see what roads are safe. But there have been some close calls.

When he was traveling through Sidiquine, "Israeli artillery shells were literally going overhead and exploding 300 yards ahead," he says. It was during that bombardment about a week ago that an AFP photographer was killed.

Living like a Refugee: Correspondent David Montero traveled this week to a remote valley in northern Pakistan to see firsthand the reconstruction efforts.

David says the logistical challenges of his reporting trip closely mirrored the reconstruction process itself: determined, but often sidetracked.

"There were schools I wanted to visit, but the roads had been blocked because of landslides in the rain," he says.

Then, he waited for an hour just to get a few official reconstruction figures. "First, the appropriate computer person was unavailable. Then, just as he showed up, the power went off. I got home that night, with an upset stomach, only to discover that the UN camp where I was staying had run out of water," he says.

"I was there for two days! Imagine what it must be like for months on end. And yet people still manage to greet you with a smile and a cup of tea."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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