Reporters on the Job

Stage Fright: Staff writer Sara Miller Llana is in Nicaragua covering the presidential elections. As part of her coverage, she went with the mayor of Managua to a slum to see whether a cheap fuel program by Venezuela influenced their vote.

The mayor was there on an unrelated issue, standing on a stage and handing out soccer balls to the neighborhood children. "The mayor's aides kept telling me I should stand on the stage, that it was dangerous to stay below. But I adamantly refused – the last thing I wanted was to be photographed alongside the mayor in the local press and appear to be supporting a particular candidate," says Sara.

She stood her ground until a fight broke out nearby and guns were fired into the air. "Everyone started running toward the stage, and fearing I might be crushed in the stampede, I tried to get up on the stage too. At that point, the mayor's security guard refused to let me up. Too many others were trying to escape the crowd, too. Finally, the mayor's press assistant told them I was a foreigner and to let me up," she says.

"It was scary for about three seconds. But then I felt sad that I was among those privileged to reach relative safety, and prayed nothing would happen to the rest of those there."

Baby Gifts Exchanged: When staff writer Scott Peterson's fourth child was born during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, she was given the middle name of Samarra, after the ancient city north of Baghdad. And one Iraqi family – the Methboubs – was ready with a gift.

When they learned of the baby, some of the children rummaged around in their back room, and presented Scott with several small, ornate baby dresses for "Little Samarra."

Aware that their daughter Zainab was pregnant when he visited the family last June, Scott brought in his own daughter's baby clothes, which she had outgrown.

"When I gave all the pink clothes to the family, I said, that 'I hope the new baby is a girl,' " says Scott.

It was a boy, much to the beaming delight of father Ali. His name is Fahad, which is cougar in Arabic.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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