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Making a Game of the News 91

As traditional news media struggles to find a new method and business model for dissemination over the internet, some are suggesting that news-related games could be an avenue worth pursuing. Rather than using such games solely as entertainment, journalists could make some of their reports more educative and interactive, allowing readers to choose which threads of a story they would like to follow. Georgia Tech is currently running a research blog to better understand how games and journalism can interact. "The point to consider here is that the two processes do not have to be mutually exclusive, and may even be complementary. Just a couple of years ago, we were wondering if the blogosphere was trivializing journalism; now, most of us, including traditional journalists, are willing to accept the fact that the two can not only live in harmony but also play off of each other. Similarly, online games could help break down complex topics, and stimulate audience interest in the more mundane ones."
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Making a Game of the News

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  • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @10:47AM (#27636487) Homepage

    Does this remind anyone of the news reels in the movie Starship Troopers where, at the end of each clip, it asked, "Would you like to know more?"

    Of course, I thought hypertext filled this need years ago... Maybe I'm missing something.

  • by storkus ( 179708 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @10:48AM (#27636495)

    ...but isn't the news mundane enough and catered to the lowest common denominator as it is? I mean, even after taking in account the bias?


  • 3D Maps? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MRe_nl ( 306212 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @10:50AM (#27636521)

    Run around in Grozny, Ramallah or Waziristan while being shelled by the Russian, Israeli or American army!
    Live and real-time, just download
    I can't wait. Not that it's likely to be allowed.
    It might bring home the terror that is "asymetrical" war.

  • The real problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 19, 2009 @10:57AM (#27636569)

    A lot of journalists know nothing about what they're reporting. The more you know about something, the more you realize how wrong the news reporters are. And if they're wrong about that, what's to say they aren't also wrong about the things you know less about?

  • Gaming the News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 19, 2009 @11:11AM (#27636655)

    It seems to me that the largest current problem with "the news" is quality. How is increasing the cost of presentation in the absence of improved investigation and analysis going to improve the quality of what is presented? This seems like yet another hopeful stab at using technology for the sake of technology with little or no regard to determining whether it is an appropriate question. News is information. If you want to understand how to improve the presentation of information, look up Edward Tufte [], his work, his books and his curriculum vitae.

    Rupert Murdoch & his ilk at the Tele-Virus Networks took this attitude to it's logical extreme. They played the game of ---> let's see how little we can invest in reporting and credible presentation of fact-based analysis and how much we can squeeze out of sponsors who care more about eyeballs than brain cells.

    They won, we lost... (long live Walter Cronkite).

  • by ChePibe ( 882378 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @11:14AM (#27636681)

    Oh please.

    As if the profession weren't largely "trivial" enough.

    A Journalist is essentially this: a person with no education on a topic whatsoever and who likely already possesses an opinion of it is supposed to go out and write an informed, accurate, and neutral (or objective, whatever the standard is now) article on it for all the world to read.

    To say that "journalists" screw this up more often than not would be far too kind. Ever read a science article written by a "journalist"? I mean, how many miracle AIDS cures have journalists written about, all hoping to get the big scope, with nothing at all behind them? How often do run of the mill journalists get tech news even remotely right? As a law student, every time I hear a journalist covering any legal news I groan deep inside because the odds are quite strong that at least half of the time they will get things wrong. And heaven help them if they ever, ever have to quote a statistic or challenge a claim of a remotely scientific nature.

    It shouldn't surprise anyone that this is the case - journalism school is little more than half of an English degree with a few "ethics" and "media" classes thrown in. People don't make fun of Communications majors for nothing. How about a basic class on statistics so they could actually, you know, challenge someone on things like sample size or ask if an economic indicator is quarterly or annual? A basic introduction to jurisprudence so a reporter working in the legal field actually knows about procedure and the function of appellate courts?

    Journalists want to be the conduit of information to the world, and for a long time they were simply because real, qualified experts weren't easily accessible. Now, if I want to read up on legal news, I'll read the blogs of a few law professors, who are often kind enough to point to other blogs holding different viewpoints. If scientific news interest me, I'll look to blogs by experts in a field for more information. And if I want to know about politics, I'll look to bloggers in general. That there is a bias in their reporting doesn't bother me one bit - most are entirely open about their bias, and finding the other side(s) of the argument is a trivial task. Journalists, on the other hand, retain or attempt to retain a false, ridiculous "neutrality" - a bizarre, mostly American, concept in a world where most major papers freely admit to their slant.

    Now there are some great journalists out there, don't get me wrong. But good reporting is the exception, not the rule.

    Journalism was a trivial affair long before bloggers came on the scene, and journalists have only themselves to blame.

  • Not interested (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thermian ( 1267986 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @12:55PM (#27637313)

    No really. The television news services are really only interested in whose been raped/killed/imprisoned, and when it comes to foreign affairs, they show the nasty stuff more than anything.

    if ten people out of thousands in a protest start to fight, or do something like break windows, *thats* what they show, and they call everyone there anarchists. Honestly, it makes me sick.

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @01:07PM (#27637395) Homepage Journal

    I thought hypertext filled this need years ago... Maybe I'm missing something.

    The traditional media doesn't seem able to use hypertext correctly.

    They commit atrocious crimes against HTML by doing things like "... in bangladesh. (click here to learn more about bangladesh)" instead of hyperlinking the relevant words like they should.

    Old media: We take the hyper out of text!

  • Why Speculate ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ciderVisor ( 1318765 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @01:57PM (#27637735)

    As Michael Crichton said []:

    "Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.

    "In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know."

  • by WCguru42 ( 1268530 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:13PM (#27637863)

    To be fair, Olbermann runs a political commentary show, similar to O'Reilly. I have no problem with those two (other than personal distaste for their views and methods) but they have no obligation to present an unbiased view of the news because they are, in fact, entertainment shows as opposed to news broadcasts.

    On the other hand, the news casts on those channels need to clean themselves up of their political views. If you claim to be a news broadcaster then you shouldn't act like a political commentator. And people in general need to stop treating political commentary like news. Too many people have told me that they heard O'Reilly say something so it must be true. Smarten up folks.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.