Intense Training Prepares Journalists for War

Like Centurion, AKE blends lectures and practical scenarios supported by video footage and demonstrations. The interactive exercises test each student's retention of the classroom information.

AKE's intended its five-day course, called Surviving Hostile Regions, for news teams and individuals working in challenging or hostile areas.

"We aim to teach as much as possible about hostile environments," said Iain Donald, head of risk consultancy and intelligence at AKE. The more context individuals have, the more prepared they will be, since no two situations are ever alike, he said.

He described the full-weapons lecture, which focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of weapons so that if reporters in Africa see militia men with AK-47s, they will know the range and the risks involved.

Donald believes firmly in his company's training classes, adding that there is no point going out in the field without being informed.

"Our approach is that everything has to be led by intelligence with specific training and with a full array of the risks, he said.

In business since 1993, AKE has expanded its courses and designed area-specific training, with a new focus on Iraq.

Fievet believes his training was invaluable, adding that he learned the importance of taking precautions at all times.

Marquez also points out that taking such precautions is a matter of course for the military and people living there.

"What is amazing to realize," said Marquez, "is the fear of uncertainty that we feel is what Iraqis and U.S. soliders deal with every day."

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