Reporters on the Job

Geoff Caddick/AP
WALK THIS WAY: Shoes (plastic clogs) are arranged as feet around a poster of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu in London’s Trafalgar Square. Each pair of shoes represents a child in need, according to World Vision, a Christian charity, conducting a two-week campaign to sign up sponsors in Britain.

Your Map or Mine?: Correspondent Sam Dagher found that as he reported today's story about Iraq's contested central city of Kirkuk, Kurdish officials both in the city and in the neighboring Kurdistan region, were quick to produce lots of maps .

"Ihsan Muhammad, the minister of extra-regional affairs in Kurdistan, gave me a thick, bound book filled with maps, details, and statistics culled from official documents dating from the previous regime that showed the extent of Saddam Hussein's Arabization drive," says Sam.

In bookshops in Kurdistan, "A Kirkuk Atlas" was on sale. It was produced by the local Kurdish government in 2007.

At the airport in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Sam spotted a free map of the region that showed Kirkuk at its heart.

In the office of Rizgar Ali, the Kurdish head of Kirkuk's provincial council, there are at least half a dozen maps on the wall attesting to Kirkuk's "Kurdishness."

But when Sam interviewed a Turkmen politician, he scoffed at the Kurdish maps and coolly produced from the drawer of his desk a map of the Turkmen nation showing Kirkuk at its center.

Urban Peace Corps: The genesis of today's story began last fall when the US Peace Corps program returned to Ethiopia after a seven-year hiatus. Reporter Nick Benequista went to a press conference announcing its return and spoke to a couple of computer professionals from Seattle.

Nick waited until they had had a few months of experience, then went to see them. "I can't tell you what city they're living in because the Peace Corps makes that a condition of the interview," says Nick. He found them living in a three-bedroom apartment in a bustling city. "They had expected to be assigned to a remote African village. But they're considering re-enlisting. Maybe they'll get a thatched hut after all," he says.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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