Journalism / Subject guides


Defence stories can be complex, with even the basics such as appropriate language, ranks and regiments posing challenges to accurate reporting. In this section of the BBC Academy website, read guides to the Navy, Army, Air Force, Special Forces and intelligence services. There’s also an insight into the challenges posed by embedded journalism.

Reporting the military: Caroline Wyatt

Former BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt outlines the essentials to reporting conflict: sound knowledge, good contacts and accuracy

Reporting conflict and casualties

Impartial, independent reporting should take account of the view that 'we should support our troops' as well as the counter argument that 'we shouldn't be involved in the first place'

Embedded journalism: Reporting conflict

Jonathan Baker, former head of the BBC College of Journalism, looks at the role of the embedded reporter and issues surrounding due impartiality


From Cold War alliance to protection against cyber-attacks and security operations across Afghanistan, Nato has built both bridges and tensions

British Army’s size and structure

The regular British Army, with a full-time trained strength of less than 95,000 personnel, is being scaled back as reservists take on a bigger role

Royal Navy’s size and structure

The Navy carries out a wide range of tasks, from preparing for warfare and contributing forces to joint national operations, to protecting shipping and humanitarian relief

Royal Air Force’s size and structure

The RAF's structure is complex and takes some explaining. A guide to Air Command, stations, squadrons, flights - and defence review cuts

UK Special Forces

It has always been government policy not to comment on the activities of the UK Special Forces, with the SAS probably the best known of the four. So what do we know?

Ministry of Defence’s size and structure

The department responsible for the UK's armed forces is undergoing major reform. A guide to the reorganisation of the MoD and personnel cuts