Tony Maniaty, a former foreign corespondent for ABC Australia has come up with a brilliant idea – to train potential war reporters on how to stay a safe as possible… using a video game.
The game is essentially a first-person shooter, but rather than holding a rifle the player is holding a video camera. They are given assignments, such as gathering imagery of rebel soldiers attacking a compound, and must then do so without getting killed in the ensuing battle.
In his BBC interview, Tony points out that the media world has lost an average of two people per week during the last decade. The majority of these losses occurred in live war zones and his aim is to help budding repeaters think a little more carefully about how they should act if they find themselves in such a situation.
As Tony says, video games (could we call them simulations?) are now used to train soldiers, police, and medical professionals, so why not reporters as well? I guess we could include flight simulators in this bracket as well, although these are a little more specialised than just using a laptop! Tony is also at pains to state that his game is not a replacement for proper training of war zone survival skills. It is, instead, an entry-point to get people thinking about the issues before they undertake more intensive training.
What do you think of this? I think the idea is great, and I’m wondering what other professions could do with simulated training. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.