This website is interesting. In it, Axe and others post their own stories, pictures, drawings and videos from conflict zones. This is part of their mission statement:
We are citizen journalists with a deep interest in world and national security. We are opposed to violence but recognize the necessity and utility of war. We advocate diplomacy and compromise over force as a solution to conflict.
We are wary of partisan politics, skeptical of the military-industrial-media complex, calm in the face of extremists’ rhetoric and adamant that open debate almost always trumps secrecy.
We lament the passing of old media but embrace the emergence of New Media. As journalists, we abide by three simple rules:
* Be accurate
* Be honest
* As often as possible, observe first-hand
We are expeditionary, investing our own resources and those donated to us, in order to travel to current and emerging conflict zones.
I would add ‘Be transparent’ to those “simple rules”. Be transparent to both your sources and readers (viewers, whatever). Or at least be as transparent as you can be given the circumstances of the situation. But anyway, cool enough.
In 2006, Axe published a “graphic novel war memoir” called War Fix, drawn by Steve Olexa. And now he is publishing another graphic novel, this one called too War is Boring and illustrated by Matt Bors. This second one is a more personal account of his life as a conflict reporter for four years. During that time, Axe reported from East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Chad and a few other places.
It looks at least interesting, as the comic offers different possibilities than more traditional media to tell war stories (not that this is the first ‘war comic’ ever, but anyway).
He published this new book this month and so he’s giving interviews and stuff. Yesterday, Noah Shachtman posted an article about it in Wired’s Danger Room (DR). Axe has written for Wired, he and Shachtman are friends and this article is mostly made up of an email exchange between them. This offers a revealing -if short- insight into this guy’s experiences and is worth to read. I’m highlighting this for you to go there and read it in full:
DR: You’ve covered just about every war on the planet. Why don’t you like being called a war correspondent?
DA: (…) So I’m not a war correspondent in the truest sense of the word. I’m something else. I like to use the term “conflict reporter,” since I spend 2/3 of my time sitting on my ass in Columbia, S.C., writing about war and technology from a distance, rather than “corresponding” from the battlefield.
DR: You wrote that you started covering war zones, in part, to make you “smarter, sexier, and happier.” How’d that turn out?
DA: Not at all. I brought back one serious skin condition from Iraq and another from Africa. Two bouts of dysentery in Iraq mean I now have trouble digesting many foods. I can be rather volatile and depressive these days. I don’t always make for pleasant company.
I said this is revealing because I find it’s not the usual image most people may have of a war or conflict reporter. What do you think about this?