• Searchlight Journalism: Natural disasters such as the recent earthquake in Sichuan Province show newspapers at their best and at their worst, says staff writer Peter Ford. "We are generally very good at covering the immediate drama of a catastrophe, at catching the emotional and physical impact on peoples' lives," he says. "But talking to refugees and experts for my article about the situation one month on, and hearing them talk of the reconstruction work that will take years to do, I realized again how much harder the media finds it to hold interest in a story over a longer period.
"We are not floodlights but searchlights, and our beam moves on too quickly," says Peter. "In the case of Sichuan, I just hope I will be able to keep going back reasonably often to follow the less exciting, but equally important story of recovery."
• Faith in the US Mission: Correspondent Sam Dagher says that the Iraqi couple he profiled in today's story is still very much behind the US mission in Iraq. In fact, he says, the two often find themselves reassuring American troops that the war was justified. "They still believe that America did the right thing by invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam Hussein," says Sam.
Working with the Americans has been both risky and rewarding. "They say that working with the US troops for them has made them more well-rounded," says Sam, "and that some of the American individualism has rubbed off on them."
– David Clark Scott