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Reporters on the Job

Detour to a Story : Some stories are the result of much planning. Others, like today's story about an Iraqi neighborhood council, are serendipitous. Staff writer Scott Peterson was getting a lift from one US military camp to another when he was told there would be a detour. "Sorry, but we're going to be a little slow - we've got to stop off at a council meeting first," the US Army Capt. Stuart West told Scott, tightening his Kevlar vest and helmet. "It could take anywhere from an hour to five hours."

Scott's heart sank. He'd been waiting several days to report the story about a street in Baghdad that had been liberated by US and Iraqi troops. "But within minutes of the start of the meeting, I knew I'd stumbled into an eye-opening example of how US soldiers and local leaders interact and try to make the Iraq campaign work," says Scott. "It's one of those windows on Iraq that rarely makes it into the news."

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Best Job on Earth : Staff writer Danna Harman says that working on today's story about the Venezuelan land reform was far more fun than perhaps the final product might indicate. "It was a treat to visit the Hato Piñero ranch, and reminded me of being back in Africa, and why this is the best job on earth," she says. "The land stretches in every direction as far as you can see. There are amazing birds and these improbable giant rodents called capybaras and alligators everywhere."

The ranch is a popular destination for bird watchers, but Danna had the place mostly to herself because of the time of year or because the troubles over ownership had scared people off. "I was told there had been no tourists for weeks - just reporters. "One journalist called it the "Hato Piñero filing center," she says.

David Clark Scott
World editor