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Weekly paper sends reporter to Afghanistan

A South London weekly has sent one of its reporters to Afghanistan to provide daily updates on the progress of its local regiment.

Following nine months of negotiations with the Ministry of Defence, Croydon Guardian reporter Harry Miller, left, flew out to Kandahar from RAF Brize Norton last weekend and arrived at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province on Monday.

Since then, he has sent daily bulletins for the paper’s website each day on the progress of 2 Rifles, a regiment that recruits from the Guardian’s South London patch.

The paper has set up a special web channel for his updates which can be read in full here.

Said assistant editor Matthew Knowles: “It is quite unusual for a reporter from a local free paper to get this opportunity but it is testament to Harry’s contacts within the local regiments.

“He registered an interest in going out there with the press office contact at Horse Guards. They then find a unit and a suitable time to send a reporter.

“It took about nine months of negotiations from inquiring about a spot with the Army to actually getting over there but once a slot opened Harry had about a week’s notice before flying out.

“He has filed a diary every day he has been at Camp Bastion and it has proved very popular with our readers so far.”

In a first-person piece before his departure, Harry wrote: “I am going to see how the reconstruction effort is going and see what security arrangements have been put in place ahead of the presidential elections in August.

“I am joining 2 Rifles, a regiment that recruits out of the South of England to meet soldiers from the local area and see how life in the desert is and how war is really affecting them.

“I have been told that at Camp Bastion I will be kept in the lap of luxury. My tent will be air conditioned, vital to combat the 45 degree heat, there is a Starbucks for coffee and a KFC if rations get a bit of a bore.

“My plan is to speak to as many soldiers from the borough and find out what life in Britain’s modern army is really like.”


Edvard van Cutsem (08/06/2009 12:57:15)
He’s ginger – he’s gonna BURN!!

cynicHACK (08/06/2009 17:39:40)
I wonder if the Newsquest title is paying Harry while he is out there.
Is one of the weeks he’s there the one where all staff were asked to take a week’s unpaid holiday?

pete Le Riche (08/06/2009 20:29:45)
Nice to see some good old fashioned journalism. I did this in northern ireland a few years back and it really opens your eyes.