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Reporters on the Job

NO ALARM CLOCK NEEDED: Reporter Dan Murphy awoke in his Baghdad hotel Monday morning, feeling he was playing Bill Murray's role in the movie "Groundhog Day." Once again, he was awakened by explosions and the sight of panicked pigeons thrown into flight by the shock waves.

He gathered his gear and ran out to investigate. But Dan discovered he wasn't alone in feeling a sense of déjà vu. "I met a 50-something shopkeeper near one of the bombed police stations (page 1). His big, plate-glass window had been shattered by the shock wave. He was dressed in his floor-length dishdasha shirt, sweeping the glass out of his store," says Dan. "He told me it was the second time this has happened this year; he lost the window when the Americans bombed a nearby Baath headquarters during the war."

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He told Dan he's going to hold off on replacing the glass this time. "I don't want to go through this a third time," the man said.

Dan understands the sentiment.

OCCUPATIONAL SECRETS: Monitor staffer Scott Baldauf spent a few hours with the Afghan men who work with dogs to clear their country of minefields (page 7). They had discussed the noble work and how it was done, and the risk of attack by Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters, when Scott finally asked the question that had been nagging at him: "What do you tell your wives and families about the risks involved?"

"They looked at each other and laughed. 'We don't tell them about the risks or dangerous aspects.'" Scott says.

"I laughed, too," says Scott. "Sometimes journalists have to practice the same kind of selective disclosure to their spouses about their work."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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