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Blogging Baghdad aims to provide a dynamic look at the story behind the story of covering the news in Iraq. Online entries – from text to video blogs – will detail the realities of daily life for ordinary Iraqis, American troops and the media living and working in a 24 hour war zone.

Regular contributors include NBC News correspondents, producers and staff on assignment in Iraq.

Click here to read more about the journalists behind Blogging Baghdad.

Calling Bob in Baghdad

I am very, very lucky. I am alive in a war zone. Most of the time I have running water and when I turn on the lights, a series of generators ensures that they come on. I don't have to worry about saying goodbye to my family here in the morning and not knowing whether I'll see them in the evening. I know I'm lucky because almost everyone I know in Baghdad has to worry constantly about those things.

Some readers and viewers think we journalists are exaggerating about the situation in Iraq. I can almost understand that because who would want to believe that things are this bad? Particularly when so many people here started out with such good intentions.

I'm more puzzled by comments that the violence isn't any worse than any American city. Really? In which American city do 60 bullet-riddled bodies turn up on a given day? In which city do the headless bodies of ordinary citizens turn up every single day? In which city would it not be news if neighborhood school children were blown up? In which neighborhood would you look the other way if gunmen came into restaurants and shot dead the customers?

Almost unimaginable
Day-to-day life here for Iraqis is so far removed from the comfortable existence we live in the United States that it is almost literally unimaginable.

It's almost impossible to describe what it feels like being stalled in traffic, your heart pounding, wondering if the vehicle in front of you is one of the three or four car bombs that will go off that day. Or seeing your husband show up at the door covered in blood after he was kidnapped and beaten.

I don't know a single family here that hasn't had a relative, neighbor or friend die violently. In places where there's been all-out fighting going on, I've interviewed parents who buried their dead child in the yard because it was too dangerous to go to the morgue.

Imagine the worst day you've ever had in your life, add a regular dose of terror and you'll begin to get an idea of what it's like every day for a lot of people here.

Positive story we’d love to tell
So I'm particularly intrigued by a comment by an American - I'm assuming he's American - who is actually in Baghdad and believes we're exaggerating.

"I am in Baghdad teaching the Iraqis and I have to let you know some realities the press doesn't tell you," wrote Bob in a comment to the Baghdad blog. He tells us those things are the schools or hospitals the U.S. military has built and that things are a lot better than the press says they are. I would really like to find Bob. I would be grateful if Bob would get in touch with us.

[Here is the original comment from "Bob" plus a link to the original posting: "I am in Baghdad teaching the Iraqis and I have to let you know some realities the press doesnt tell you. First there are some good things going on here. No one is talking about the schools that the US military has built or the hospitals and other good things going on here. Secondly I have had more than one student tell me that reporters who live in the IZ or green zone offer good money for blood and guts stories but not for positive news that is going on. The reporters here make this place much worse than it is in reality." And here is the link: "Naming a baby Ali or Omar? It matters" ]

Because if Bob is actually an American school teacher in an Iraqi classroom it's a great story we have to do. It's so wonderfully normal. I would bet though that Bob is teaching Iraqis in his capacity as a soldier or contractor and still has to walk into those buildings wearing body armor and a helmet or accompanied by a security detail.

Bob also tells us that he's had more than one student tell him that "reporters who live in the IZ (International Zone) or Green Zone offer good money for blood and guts stories but not for positive news that is going on."

Reporters don't pay for stories. We know now that contractors tasked by the Department of Defense to put "good news stories" in Iraqi papers pay for stories but reporters don't. Have I mentioned that very few reporters live in the Green Zone? Bob - let's talk.

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