The Post’s “appeal for help in Iraq”

A message from their Foreign Desk:

    The war in Iraq is now entering its fifth year. We continue to produce some of the most distinctive and difficult journalism of our time on this story.

    Take a look at the work of our correspondents in the last year — brilliant reporting, amazing story-telling, and an unmatched level of understanding and courage — and you’ll see what we mean.

    We’ve now sent more than 70 reporters, editors, photographers and opinion writers to Iraq since the war began in 2003. And yet our work is unfinished.

    We’ve staffed the bureau with a combination of permanent correspondents and temporary reporters on eight-week rotations. We’re now in need of more volunteers for the rotations.

    In the last year, Metro reporters have excelled at these stints. Nelson Hernandez, Amit Paley, Nancy Trejos and Ernesto Londono left us with indelible impressions from their work. Karin Brulliard is on her way this week. Two reporters who went on rotation are now leading our gifted, permanent team: Sudarsan Raghavan, bureau chief, and Josh Partlow.

    We want others to join them. The coverage of the war is more chalenging than ever. We want to encourage applications from across the newsroom. Metro has been a natural source of talent, which Bob McCartney has generously encouraged. In addition, we want to make sure we have reached those on other staffs who might want to participate.

    This is an extraordinarily demanding assignment, one that tests reporting and writing skills, stamina, judgment and commitment. The work involves long days, reporting on topics that are opaque, working in an environment where mobility is limited and hazards ever-present. But the rewards are also large, as the coverage attests.

    We are looking for candidates interested in all aspects of the conflict. We place a high value on teamwork. The newspaper is committed to the highest and best training and protection of our people in the war zone.

    We are now looking for reporters to start preparations for work in Baghdad during the summer and autumn months, but would like to hear from everyone who is interested in going, at any time.

    We are organizing a luncheon later this month with Sudarsan for those who would like to talk about the details of working in Iraq.