Jan 5

From the Frontlines: An overlook on contemporary war reporting.

Wars have always been commonplace in Galactic Society. From small tribal wars on undeveloped planets, too full scale engagements between empires, war is, and will probably always be, one of the few constants in the universe.

But how do we find out about them? How does a society find out about these things? Obviously there are Government announcements: friendly, reassuring statements saying everything is fine and that you’re not all going to die. Whilst these statements are about as useful as an angry wookie, they at least can guarantee that the populace are mildly aware as to whether or not they’re at war.

But what of the rest? What of the details? And how do people who don’t even care get told about these events that they are so busy not caring about? Enter the Journalist: a creature of such a rare breed, that their one single craving is information, details, events… The Journalist will strive to find out what happened, and tell you about it, whether you want to hear about it or not. Why? Probably because he or she has nothing better to do.

When it came to wars, Journalist would in days gone by simply sit on the sidelines, gleaning what information they could, and constructing a report over what they heard, or were told. Unfortunately, this still meant that the authorities were the main source of information. Whilst this would rate as slightly more useful than an angry wookie, it was still pretty poor, especially when an average Journalist could have found out more about the person they were interviewing, as opposed to the subject matter of the interview – If the public cared little for conflicts between foreign leaders, they would care even less for the detailed breakdown of sexual affairs conducted by said leaders.

Classic examples of how this style of reporting simply didn’t work can be seen from reports of the Clone Wars. Reports on the war were sporadic at best, especially when the military took over the Holonet News service in 22 BBY. Independent news networks on a galactic scale were still rare during these days, and so an overall view of the war was lacking. Some sector wide news agencies managed to get coverage, but only because it was their sector that the war was taking place in, and the coverage was mainly one sided. During a shoot of the popular talk show Coruscant Today, a guest on the show famously commented:

“Despite scouring the Holonet every day, listening to government updates, surfing the web and Vid shows, I have absolutely no clue how the war is going”

As time went one, there was a shift in attitudes towards war reporting, especially after the formation of the Galactic Empire. As atrocities such as the Great Jedi Purge and the Ghorman Massacre tried to go unnoticed, reporters were suddenly struck by a bad case of conscience. Did events really happen as Imperial Centre told us? What is the REAL story? Reporters from around the galaxy started hunting down the truth, and when the Declaration of Rebellion was realised in 1 BBY, reporters suddenly realised that there was a different side to the story. News corporations such as the newly formed Galactic Press were becoming fed up with the propaganda machine, and started to find ways to get independent reports, especially when it came to wars. And so led to the rise of the ‘Frontline’ reporter.

Frontline reporting went through serious growing pains in the early years. Skirmishes with the Rebellion were kept on the quiet-side as much as possible, so that not too much attention was drawn to their cause. Reporters who did manage to work up more objective works had their work stamped out, or simply refused distribution. A lot of reporters died during the fights, especially in later years as the Empire got more and more forceful. However, Journalists were given a break with the defeat of the empire at the battle of Endor. As the Imperium disintegrated, and the Rebels became more prominent, Journalists were given more of a free reign. The biggest break through in war reporting was with Zahn Sim, and his report of the ‘New Republics’ liberation of Courascant in 7 ABY. From start to finish, Zahn was there, giving a blow by blow account of the liberation. Once NR forces touched down on the surface, Zahn went all over the place, reporting as he went. His reports are generally considered one of the best pieces of Journalism in history.

A couple of years on, and Journalism is generally considered to be on a high. Reporters are going from place to place, tagging along with one army or another, and constructing comprehensive reports. News company owners predict a shift in how reporters are employed, moving from a more company ethic to more freelancing. HoloNet and Galactic Press bosses have especially commented that they tend to ‘hire’ people who are on or near the conflict, rather then send someone out.

What does the future hold? Who knows. Here at VE Today, the ethic is that all of our information is first hand. Many of our reporters were there during the Third Outer Rim War, telling a tale that needed to be told, and I hope that they will continue serving the people in such a selfless and courageous way.

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