Global News liveblogs from frontlines of Afghanistan

Global News pulled a first-ever last night when it liveblogged from the frontlines of Afghanistan for an hour.

The liveblog, which started at 11:30 p.m. and ran until 12:30 a.m., featured four panellists: Capt. Braden Greaves, who is from Alberta and on his first tour in Afghanistan, Capt. Jaime Donovan, a public affairs officer from N.S., Lieutenant-Commander Mark Shepherd, chief of information and influence at Task Force Kandahar, and Melanie De Klerk, who is Global National’s research supervisor and is living at Kandahar Airfield for the month of June.

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges on the liveblog, from a journalist point of view, were the answers to this question: How do you feel about Canadian media coverage of the war?

All three soldiers expressed some sense of frustration.

Notably, from Donovan:

“Coverage, right now, is less than what I would hope for. 3000 soldiers in theatre is a lot. A handful of journalists covering the war from Afghanistan itself…not so much. It’s challenging. And admittedly the operating environment is as harsh as it is dangerous, but visibility is important.

“…I get that most media are tired of the war and of the need to cover, not to mention the public appetite at home. Trying to explain that to a soldier at the front end who’s not showered in 6 days, is humping 90-100lbs of gear daily, has lost 25lbs in the last 3months ’cause it’s too damn hot to eat, and has been in theatre doing his, or her, thing since before Christmas with little visability [sic] to show for it in comparrison [sic] to past years, sucks.”

And Shepherd:

“I’m glad that the media is here covering what we do, I am bit frustrated because the only time I tend to see stories or articles about what we are doing here, is when there is something negative or someone being critical of us. They don’t see some of the little things that are real indicators of progress, like the personal loan of 35$ that one of the CIMIC operators gave to a local Afghan in Talukhan so that he could open a restaurant in the Bazaar. It isn’t a restaurant to our standards but he get about25 customers and hour while the bazaar is open! These are the stories that really indicate progress, not how many new recruits joined the Afghan security forces.”

Greaves added that it was frustrating to see how much focus the media puts on casualties and ramp ceremonies, saying a greater testament would be to focus on the work and progress he says they have made.

You can check out the rest of the liveblog at the Global News site, plus another liveblog that reflects on the 10 years of war in Afghanistan.