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Panpa Bulletin : November 2011
WAr StorY New video game aims to prepare journalists for conflict zones. TreVor AlleN reports. A BlAZe of bullets greets your arrival in a country torn by war. You dive for cover as a gun battle rages around you. As a journalist, you’re desperately try- ing to capture the story, taking photos while fearing for your survival. You flee for the safety of a partially destroyed building to avoid the crossfire . . . this could be the streets of gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, the back alleys of Mogadishu, or the hills of Helmand Prov- ince. Yet it is the world of “WArCo” – a video game designed to train journalists to op- erate in the combat zone. This is a serious business. Some 97 journalists have died covering conflicts in more than 30 countries this year. it is likely to be the bloodiest 12 months in a decade for journalists, ac- cording to the international News Safety institute (iNSi), which has just released a study “Killing the Messenger ”. Violence directed at journalists has motivated Tony Maniaty, the senior lecturer in international journalism the university of Technology Sydney and a former producer at the Australian Broad- casting Company (ABC), to be part of an innovative project to help prepare jour- nalists through a video game. He has helped design a first-person “shooter” that has similarities to popular games such as Call of Duty or Counter- Strike. rather than shoot all those who stand in your way with a semi-automatic as- sault rifle, the player in this game is more interested in exposing and report- ing the truth. The WArCo game puts you in the role of a journalist on the front line Photography: Kate geraghty, Sydney Morning Herald 12 | NOVEMBER 2011 | The PANPA Bulletin