• Olympic Style: Staff writer and sports fan Mark Sappenfield was trolling through a crowd of likely Olympians at a media event in Chicago this spring when he happened upon volleyball player Nicole Davis.
"I like to learn about sports and try to appreciate them through the eyes of an athlete," says Mark, who stuck around after many of the other reporters had cleared out. "I just talked with her about what she saw in her own sport – 'What distinguishes the Chinese volleyball team? The Brazilians? Cubans? Americans?'
"As we talked, I started noticing the sort of trends I had seen in other sports, like soccer." The Chinese volleyball team, for example, is rigidly organized, well trained, technically superior, and efficient, says Mark, who has always been intrigued by where a national team's style derives from.
"There's some degree of universality in how a country plays different sports."
• Close to the Heart: Working in Israel, where sentiments run deep and emotions are often high, staff writer Ilene Prusher often has to report on events or issues that pluck one's heartstrings. Sifting the meaningful nuggets from her narrow notebook pages can be a tough task.
"I wrote down several things that one of the widows said that really struck me," says Ilene. "Speaking as if to her husband, she said, 'We're starting a new journey together, except you're always going to remain a young man.' "
Ilene started to put them in the story, but realized they were off-subject, so kept them in her heart instead.
– Christa Case Bryant