Reporters in "Star Trek Generations"
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
At the beginning of Star Trek Generations, six reporters are seen on the bridge of the USS Enterprise-B. These reporters are interesting for two different reasons. They are all wearing the logo of a future news agency on their clothes or equipment and they are all wearing re-used costumes that were previously seen in earlier TNG episodes.
In this article, we identify the different news channels or agencies the reporters work for (hint: the Federation News Network FNN is not one of them) and will show which costume was re-used for each reporter.
First of all, it needs to be pointed out that, besides the footage from the film itself, there are several sources concerning which news agencies actually appear in "Generations".
- The earliest source for information on this is the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion by Larry Nemecek. In the behind-the-scenes section about the film, it is stated: "Other fun graphics include the journalists from 'FNN' (Federation News Network), 'SFB' (Starfleet Broadcasting), and 'EBC' (Earth Broadcasting Co.)."
- Several years later, the British partwork Star Trek Fact Files published a file with several graphics seen on the various Star Trek shows. It included a section with the logos of four civilian news agencies. These are "GNN", "UFB", "ebs terranews" and "United Federation of Planets Press and Information". As can be seen, none of those agencies was mentioned in the TNG Companion.
- Finally, in 2007, some equipment used by the reporters was auctioned off by It's a Wrap! (IAW). One of the headset camera props features a previously unseen or unmentioned logo for a news agency called "FPC". The bag sports the logo of "United Federation Press and Information", which was previously seen in the Star Trek Fact Files.
Careful analysis of the scenes featuring the reporters reveals which news agency logos actually appeared in the film. HD screenshots will be provided to illustrate the research.
As mentioned before, there are six reporters present on the bridge. These journalists can be grouped into three teams, each consisting of a reporter asking questions and recording the answers with a microphone/recording device and a cameraperson with a camera headset filming the interviewee.
This female reporter has the most dialogue in the scenes on the Enterprise-B bridge. She asks Captain Kirk how it feels not to be the Captain of the USS Enterprise for the first time in 30 years. This reporter wears a purple dress previously seen on Dr. Leah Brahms in TNG: "Galaxy's Child", lacking the metallic brooch. The costume was auctioned off by IAW.
According to her silver metallic badge, identifying her as a reporter, she works for FPC. The logo can clearly be made out early in the scene, when the turbolift door opens for Kirk.
The female reporter is accompanied by a male cameraman. He wears a gray headset camera and a black shoulder pouch. His suit is a re-use of a costume worn by one of two unnamed Tyrans in "The Quality of Life". One of those costumes was auctioned off by IAW.
This cameraman's headset features two news agencies logos. On the left side of the camera, the "new" logo of FPC, also worn by the female reporter he supports, is seen several times in the film. On the right side of the camera, the logo of United Federation of Planets Press and Information can barely be made out.
The logo on the previously mentioned shoulder pouch can be seen very briefly in an action sequence in the bridge scene at time index 9:14. The pouch also features the logo of UFP Press and Information.
The camera headset and shoulder pouch of this cameraman were auctioned off by IAW.
This is the only source for the FPC logo that we have, as it was the only of the four logos seen in "Generations" that was not also published in the Star Trek Fact Files. The logo of UFP Press and Information on the bag (seen in the auction photos) clearly matches the graphic seen in the Fact Files.
The second reporter also has some dialogue in the film. Together with his cameraman, he is sent to sickbay by Chekov to take care of the wounded El-Aurians. In that capacity, the news team later meets Dr. Soran in sickbay aboard the USS Enterprise-B.
The male reporter re-uses a costume that the Atlec Debin wore in TNG: "The Outrageous Okona", a couple of years earlier. For its repurposing in "Generations", a decorative gold border was added to the front of the costume. When the costume was sold by IAW, the border was still present.
Like the first reporter, this journalist has a silver badge identifying him as working for FPC.
This cameraman follows the second reporter around on the bridge. He later works in sickbay together with the reporter. His costume was previously worn by the Malcorian Berel in TNG: "First Contact". It was later re-used in a Voyager episode and the decorative folded trimming (a feature of all Malcorian costumes) was removed. In that appearance it was sold by IAW.
He is the only news person on the bridge working for GNN. He is also the only cameraman with a silver badge, like the reporters. His badge can clearly be seen several times in the film.
The logo appears slightly different from the way it does in the Fact Files. The letters "GNN" seem to be white instead of golden/yellow. The color of the oval with two spikes likewise appears to be black, not blue with small white stars. Finally, the logo is placed on a blue circle, the upper part of the circle being dark blue or purple, while the lower half is light blue.
This cameraman wears a black camera headset. Similar to the camera used by his colleague, it features the FPC logo on the left side and the UFP press and information logo on the right side. The black camera worn by this cameraman was also auctioned off by IAW, the listing includes no photos of the logos on the headset, however.
This female reporter wears another costume previously seen on Dr. Leah Brahms in "Galaxy's Child". It's the outfit she is seen wearing when she comes aboard the USS Enterprise-D. For the re-use of the costume, the brooch was moved a little to the right and the gray undershirt was removed. When the costume was auctioned off by IAW, it did not feature the brooch and the undershirt is different from the one worn by Dr. Brahms in the TNG episode.
This reporter too has a metallic identification badge, but it is on her left sleeve, instead of on the front of her outfit. Based on the logo on her metallic badge, seen up close only once in the film, this reporter works for "ebs terranews". The logo appears similar to the way it does in the Fact Files. The three small letters and the comet at the top can clearly be made out.
This camerawoman is the most elusive journalist in the scene. She always accompanies the third reporter. Her costume was previously worn by Dr. Toby Russell in "Ethics". Dr. Russell wears the coat with a turtleneck sweater only in one scene in the episode, when she is tending to the survivors and casualties of the USS Denver with Dr. Crusher. As can be seen, the costume was modified slightly for its re-use in "Generations", as gold trimming was added. When the ensemble was sold by IAW many years later, the gold trimming was no longer part of the costume.
Interestingly, the camerawoman is seen wearing a brooch that was previously part of Leah Brahms's purple costume, worn by the first reporter in the scenes set on the bridge of the USS Enterprise-B (see above). As already mentioned, that costume is missing the brooch in "Generations".
Apart from the first cameraman, the camerawoman is the only of the journalists without a silver badge, neither on the front of her costume, nor on her sleeve. Her gray camera headset also features no logo, neither on the left side, nor on the right side. Only the gray shoulder pouch she wears, similar in design to the one worn by the first cameraman, features a larger version of the FPC logo, which can barely be made out towards the end of the stay of the reporters on the bridge.
Four different logos of news channels or agencies could be identified in "Star Trek Generations":
- UFP Press and Information
- ebs terranews
Five of the six journalists display the logo of FPC. The logo of United Federation of Planets Press and Information is worn by two journalists and it is seen in three different places in the episode. It can be assumed that this organization is the official UFP institution governing all media, while FPC, GNN and ebs are smaller independent news agencies. That way, it can be explained why the first cameraman shows both the logo of UFP Press and Information and FPC. The only irregularity here is the second cameraman, who can be seen with the logos for UFP Press and Information and FPC on his camera but the logo for GNN on his badge.
None of the news agencies mentioned in the TNG Companion actually appear on screen, the info in the book is therefore incorrect and might have been based on earlier background material. This false information was also listed at Memory Alpha since 2005 (FNN) and 2007 (SFB, EBC). It is interesting to note that the acronyms of the three mentioned agencies are only off by one letter with the logos of three agencies seen in the Star Trek Fact Files (FNN -> GNN, SFB -> UFB, EBC -> ebs).
The logos seen in the Fact Files are mostly correct, apart from the GNN logo, which appears slightly different on screen.
So what about the FNN (Federation News Network)? A logo of this agency appears as late as in SHO: "Children of Mars" and also in PIC: "Remembrance". The makers of Star Trek: Picard must have been under the impression that the FNN was canon since "Generations". It certainly is canon now!
We wanted to know who had created the logos so we contacted Mike Okuda, assuming he had designed them. He replied:
"I think Geoff Mandel did most of them. Doug might have done one or two."
We contacted Geoff Mandel next. He confirmed:
"The first three [referring to GNN, UFB and ebs] are definitely my work, thanks for asking. I was a production assistant on Deep Space Nine, but I contributed these logos and a few other things to 'Generations'. I don't recognize the Federation Press logo... if it was from 'Generations', it was designed by Alan Kobayashi, but I have a feeling it's from a bit later, as I don't remember seeing it until the early 2000s."
About the FNN logo in Star Trek: Picard he said:
"Mystery solved. Interesting that the FNN logo as seen on ST: Picard is reminiscent of my GNN logo, even with a galaxy in the background."
Finally, we reached out to Doug Drexler:
"I did the one on the camera [referring to FPC], and the Press and Info logo."
Addendum: Jake's PADD
Of the four news agency logos established in "Generations", only one appears in a later Star Trek series or film. When Jake Sisko starts writing for the Federation News Service at the end of DS9 season 5, he is sometimes seen holding a PADD while conducting his interviews or writing articles. It can only barely be made out, but the logo of United Federation of Planets Press and Information can be seen on that PADD in "Call to Arms", "A time to Stand" and "Rocks and Shoals". Maybe "Federation News Service" is another name for "United Federation of Planets Press and Information" or they just use the same (or similar) logos.
Thanks to to Brad Wilder for redrawing logos. Additional thanks to Alex Perry. Most screen caps from TrekCore and Trek Caps. Special thanks to Mike Okuda, Doug Drexler and Geoff Mandel for answering our questions.