Reporters on the Job
• Semper Connected: One thing that amazed contributor James Hagengruber about Iraq and the US bases there was the availability of Internet service (see story). "I spent nearly a week at Combat Outpost Norseman. They didn't even have a working stove (the one they had was broken) but the troops did have e-mail," he says. "The two computers were in a tiny room off the the chow hall. The marines had to sign up for access and were given 30-minute slots. If you didn't sign up or if you overstayed, the next marine had the right to kick you off the computer – regardless of rank."
• In India, a Bright Spot: Correspondent Mian Ridge was reporting in Rajasthan, India, on some distinctly weighty matters: poverty alleviation, drought, and the role of government in helping the very poor.
But Mian notes that she became distracted by the sheer beauty of the place. "The area I was in, in the south of the Rajasthan, has a bleak beauty, with rocky hills and scrubby land that is almost desert," she says. "In stark contrast to this, the women dress in the brightest of colors. At the work site I visited, it was amazing to see women shoveling earth and carrying it on their heads – dressed in jewel-like colors and wearing lots of silver jewelry. "
• Too Much Expression: Correspondent Susan Sachs says that anticipated protests over the running of the Olympic torch through Paris meant that it was difficult to get close to the route.
Authorities had announced that they were going to have a large police presence along the 17-mile route – on the water, in the air, on rollerblades. "But they couldn't control the whole thing, so, for example, people chained themselves to metal railings along the Seine," says Susan.
Some stops were cancelled, such as the one in front of City Hall. According to the mayor, the Chinese made the call. "He pronounced that in his view, the Chinese were upset by the free expression of the French people," says Susan.
– Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor