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Amman, Jordan

So I spend three weeks on the road, nearly half that time in the snowy mountains of Italy and Austria. I get home late last night, rise early this morning, look out the window… and it’s snowing.

This is not utterly unknown here in Jordan, it happens roughly once each winter. Last year’s ‘storm’ (I use this word generously. Today’s snow virtually shut down the city but would barely have qualified as a flurry in Vermont, where I grew up) left me stranded in Baghdad for two days because the plane scheduled to bring me home was unable to leave Amman.

February 7, 2005

Salzburg, Austria

I have spent the weekend here at a conference entitled “Broadcast Media in the 21st Century: Engaging the World”. The Salzburg Seminar and Washington DC’s Center for Strategic and International Studies brought together about 35 Arab and western journalists for a long weekend of discussions about how we perceive the world, the Middle East, our profession and each other. There were a smattering of people from outside either broadcasting or the media, but it was mostly television people and mostly Americans and Arabs.

Washington, Feb. 4, 2005 -- There are those who -- no doubt -- were disappointed that President Bush did not mention public diplomacy per se in his State of the Union address. But others heard it by association:

Salzburg, Austria

There can be no denying that Sunday’s Iraqi elections went better than expected. I honestly did not think I’d be saying this, but the vote, whatever the final tally may prove to be, was something of which both Iraqis and Americans can be proud. Even the death of an estimated 36 people in election-related violence was, in the twisted logic of today’s Iraq, a relief: the sad fact is that many Iraq-watchers, myself included, would not have been surprised by a body count ten times that size.

Washington, DC -- OK, if The New York Times says so, it must be true, right?

Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Washington, DC--What will happen to news media if freedom spreads throughout the world, a hope articulated by President Bush in his inaugural address?

It will be a world where local television stations with Eyewitness News formats feature "Five on Your Side," "Traffic and Weather Together," and sports, of course, and news about women and kids. News you can use, in other words.

At least that’s what seems to be shaping up in Iraq, where more than 20 local TV stations are now licensed to broadcast.



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