Reporters on the Job

Bring Your Own Candle: Staff writer Dan Murphy says the evidence that Iraq's electricity isn't being restored - a major source of frustration for Iraqis - is easy to spot on the streets of Baghdad.

"In the wealthier neighborhoods, families tired of waiting for the lights to come back on have banded together to buy large generators that serve 20 or more houses. As you drive through the streets, you can see spider-webs of power cables leading from private generators to nearby homes," says Dan.

But not everyone is able to do that. After filing today's story on the rise of kidnapping (page 1), Dan headed off to spend a night in a poor household in Sadr City. "They told me to bring candles," he says.

Not in the Script: Last week, Annia Ciezadlo set off to report about Iraq's version of "Extreme Home Makeover," a reality TV show (page 1). "I thought I was going to cover this happy, feel-good story," says Annia.

It was - except for the bombing. On the way back from shooting the episode, the TV crew stopped to scope out future locations. They were in a neighborhood where there had been heavy fighting between insurgents and US troops the night before. "The crew were shooting footage of a house with its roof torn off, and interviewing the family that lived there. Suddenly, an enormous boom ripped through the air," says Annia. A bomb, planted in a trash can outside a mosque, went off 300 yards away. A street cleaner, a kid, was killed.

"The camera crew ran to the scene. One of the production assistants followed but came back and threw up," says Annia. " I was worried about the crew - a secondary bomb could have been planted. One of the crew said, 'Don't let the 'Hajjiya' out of the van.' He was trying to protect me, and that's their nickname for me - it's the feminine word for a Muslim who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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