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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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 19, 2009 @10:53AM (#27636541)

    Here's the game: listen to the hateful shit from MSNBC, the hateful shit from FOX, and then see if you have the ability TO MAKE UP YOUR OWN FUCKING MIND AN NOT TOE ONE OF THE TWO GOV'T APPROVED METHODS OF THINKING

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 19, 2009 @11:35AM (#27636809)

    Right On!

    I've been mulling the state of "journalism" for years. When I worked in the aviation industry, I laughed when a so-called journalist covered a story about an 'event' deemed worthy of coverage by some editor who went the time-worn maxim, if it bleeds it leads, and sent some bonehead to the scene to get, "Just the facts, Ma'am."

    Most of these people wouldn't know an empennage from an expletive. They were lucky of they got the tail number of the plane written down and reported correctly, let alone any of the details, and what did it matter anyway? The NTSB takes an average of 1 year to release a conclusion regarding cause of crash, which, more often than not is pilot error.

    If you want to make a game out of the news, let's start with a framework that would reward people for fact checking and critical thinking. Is the story factually correct, can I verify the sources, and is there any meaningful analysis offered that helps me understand the world around me and become a better participant or citizen? Why am I presented with this story and not something else? Where's the meat?!

    I do not agree with the blame game as leveled by ChePibe. I believe that, "The Fish Rots from the Head." I'd love it if someone could explain the 'ethics' of editors and publishers who hide behind their position of power and spreading lies and deceit. Particularly when they are bashing scientists from the editorial page of some financial fish-wrap like the IBD. Journalists are minions; they do the bidding of their employers. Some of them are well suited to the task, others have more to offer if given the chance, but it's still a position of subordinance.

    Games are for kids... Silly Rabbit.

  • Re:3D Maps? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WCguru42 ( 1268530 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @01:48PM (#27637665)

    It would only continue the bad parts of modern journalism: the focus on death, destruction, and polarizing events.

    That's because news has shifted to "entertainment." SEAL snipers coming onto a ship at night to snipe three pirates is exiting news. Private John Doe spent the last two months building a simple one room classroom that might drastically affect the futures of kids on the other side of the world is not.

    It's really sad, because the latter example has a much greater chance of saving many more people. While there was immediate risk of death to that ship captain, he was only one man. The efforts of soldiers, volunteers and others working on infrastructure in a war torn country has the potential to move that country out of a future of wars.

  • by rjinso ( 1173017 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:03PM (#27637799)
    This isn't exactly what the article seems to be proposing, but news games do already exist: []
  • by Miseph ( 979059 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @02:55PM (#27638183) Journal

    There is no unbiased news source. At least that one admits it and even goes to the trouble of telling you what their bias is.

    Meanwhile, Faux News is "Fair and Balanced" and MSNBC is just outright schizophrenic (I may not think much of the GOP's platform... but at least they can go longer than 30 seconds without changing it completely).

  • Re:Gaming the News (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ErkDemon ( 1202789 ) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @04:38PM (#27639135) Homepage
    With Murdoch's News International, the concept of "sponsor" is extended to include politicians.

    Murdoch has extensive corporate interests, some of which can be beneficially or adversely affected by legislation. So what he does is present himself and his network as "kingmaker". Before an election, he meets up with major candidates or major party officials and says: "I have a shopping list of political issues that I personally feel are important, such as the absence of international regulation on financial transfers. If you can impress me with your candidate's commitment to these issues, then I can deliver X million votes to your party by letting all my editors know, unambiguously, that I personally favour your candidate. Those editors will then slant the news to favour your candidate. They're my editors, I appoint them and sack them, and they know from my past actions that if they go against a stated preference of mine, they'll be replaced."

    So basically, Murdoch uses his news organisation as leverage to get himself and his organisation tax breaks, or exemption from certain investigations. In the UK he was shameless about his claimed ability to swing elections in the direction that he decided: when Labour got in, his "Sun" newspaper ran a large headline that read something like "It was the Sun wot won it", the message to politicians being, "I can make you or break you via my news media depending on how nice you are to me".

    If McCain had won, Murdoch would now be telling the Republican Party that it was his news network that had delivered them the election, and that they owed him and News International some major favours (and would have to continue being extra-nice to him if they wanted to win again in four years time).

    He figured that since the Republican Party had a structure that made it more easy to negotiate with than the Democrats, he'd have his news media head down the right-wing route and back the Republican candidates and their policies, ans a way to ingratiate himself with one of the two major parties. He'd also found from the UK newspaper market that it's comparatively easy to establish a loyal readership by whipping up nationalistic anti-foreigner fervour, and playing the patriot card (despite the fact that he himself was actually Australian rather than British at that point).

    As the long-time owner of a complex international web of financial structures that are partly designed to minimise or avoid tax by shunting profits around the globe, and as someone whose network has in the past sometimes been suspected of actually being technically insolvent, Murdoch is fiercely against many forms of international financial regulations (especially those involving making life more difficult for tax havens or requiring full disclosure of interests for corporations like News International). So playing the xenophobia card in each country that he operates in is also useful as a way of discouraging the local politicians from adopting, say, EU or other international guidelines on financial regulation of multinational companies. His media feed the local populations with stories encouraging their viewers and readers to resist any form of international meddling from "them outside", telling "us" what to do (unless of course, it's copyright or IP law).

    So I'm afraid that at least part of the US news media's current shiteness is actually due to deliberate biases being imposed upon parts of it, not for honest internal political reasons, but as part of the Murdoch financial/political gameplan. He's worked out how to "game" Western countries' political systems. There's a safeguard in US media law that's supposed to to prevent this sort of outside influence by foreigners, and that's part of why Murdoch had to become a naturalised US citizen when he wanted to expand his network inside the US.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"