Reporters on the Job

Change of Course: Contributor Geoff Pingree (page 1) was out when bombs tore through the morning commute in Madrid Thursday. "I was on the metro line leading toward Atocha station, where one of the attacks occurred. Typically, there's an announcement telling you what station you're arriving at. But this time, it was much louder, coming not only from the train but in the station as well. The train simply stopped, and we were informed it would be shut down - though no reason was given."

Geoff says that as he headed back home, he noticed that the atmosphere seemed unusually somber and quiet. "When I walked into my apartment, I turned on the TV and realized what had happened. People quickly began gathering in squares and plazas to show solidarity against such a terrible attack."

Missing in Moscow: How low-key is Russia's election (this page)? The usual rule in election campaigns, says Scott Peterson, is that the closer you get to campaign offices, the more paraphernalia trumpeting Candidate X you will find stuck to walls, cars, and people.

Not so in Russia. When Scott was hunting for President Vladimir Putin's election office in downtown Moscow, he was looking out for tall billboards of the candidate's enigmatic visage, or walls plastered with posters - or at least a banner strung across the road.

When he finally saw it - using the street number to identify it - he put his camera away.

"It looked like any other renovated building," Scott says. "There was a policeman or two - smart new restaurants in Moscow have more security than that. But there was no indication at all that this was the nerve center of the key national race - except for the plain Jane sign on the wall, which could just as easily read 'Notary Public.' "

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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