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Flew back from Houston (and will soon try to post of some the furious emails from Houstonians) and taught the Georgetown class last night. The students continue to be outstanding. Everyone met the latest assignment deadline. David Finkel came and spoke, and told amazing tales, like the day near the Afghan border when a man with a bloody sword told Finkel's translator that Finkel must be killed. (Finkel, unable to understand the man, was thinking: This is good color for my story.) Finkel described his desire to go where other reporters don't go. He bears witness. He's a boots-on-the-ground guy. He said the day he arrived in Macedonia, covering the Kosovo crisis, he saw a man driving a tractor, hauling a wagon filled with water bottles, heading toward a distant, muddy field swarming with refugees. There were no reporters out there in that field, no TV crews. Finkel's instincts took over: He jumped onto the wagon and held on, carried along into the teeming, desperate mass of men, women and children as they scrambled for water. Later, back at the press area, he asked some fellow correspondents if they'd give him a lift into town. They said there was no room. They abandoned Finkel. So he found a perch on a little hill, sat on the ground, pounded out a story, and beamed it back home on a satellite phone. And it was a great story.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 28, 2005; 11:34 AM ET
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