Newest U.S. Reporter Arrives in Baghdad — From Alaska

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By: E&P Staff

The newest U.S. reporter to arrive in Baghdad as the war in Iraq approaches its fourth anniversary came just about the farthest of any — from Alaska.

He is Anchorage Daily News reporter Rich Mauer, who journeyed to Jordan and then landed last week on assignment for six weeks to the McClatchy Newspapers’Baghdad bureau.

Mauer has reported on politics, the military and other topics in his 23 years at the Daily News, but is no newcomer to the Middle East, where he covered the civil war in Lebanon a quarter century ago.

He was thrown right into the coverage, writing pieces about the heavy street fighting in Baghdad and then the shooting down of a U.S. copter in Najaf.

Besides his articles for McClatchy, he is also blogging at his paper’s site. Here is how he described his arrival last Tuesday:

“The ride to the hotel was a trip past almost immeasurable tons of concrete ? tall blast walls, traffic diverters, fences. Most drivers stayed on the correct side of the divided highway, but not everyone. As you?ve no doubt heard, it?s true that no one cares whether they go up an exit ramp or down an entry ramp. We didn?t care ourselves.

“The Tigris flowed slowly. You could hear birds in the reeds on the far bank. Above them, the monstrously large new American embassy was rising behind the fences and walls of the Green Zone.

“The boulevards were a semblance of normalcy. The neighborhood streets were another matter, definite no-go zones. In 30 minutes, we were at the bureau, my home for the next six weeks.”

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