Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The tale of a Middle Eastern reporter and The Great Hurricane

This article was published in Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, October 2012

I would have never imagined that Hurricane Sandy would be my very first extreme weather experience. Egypt, where I come from, has a hot dry weather that lasts through the year.

It barely rains three times a year in Cairo. Washington gets about as much rain in a month as Egypt averages in a year, so I bought my first umbrella in Washington.

With Hurricane Sandy approaching the city, I thought I would be staying indoors watching the news. Then I remembered that reporters are those who cover the news. Somebody has got to be out there covering it all.

I went down to the White House Monday morning, hoping I could find something interesting to cover. Surprisingly, there were a number of tourists who actually stopped to take pictures in front of the president’s residence in such weather.

As a reporter, the challenge was how get a good story without wrecking the gear. A wet camera is no good for anybody. The lesson was, use whatever possible – garbage bags and duct tape saved the day.
I received tens of worried phone calls and emails from family and friends. I didn’t expect that fake photos of Hurricane Sandy would reach my friends in Egypt. People have been asking me if I have been seeing any sharks lately or whether Lady Liberty was flooded now. I had to use my journalistic skills to correct the record.

There is an inscription found on the General Post Office in New York City at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street that says “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” prevents postal carriers from delivering the mail. My guess they were also talking about us, reporters.

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