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Digital Games as New Journalism June 26, 2009

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Singapore, Social Media, Trends, YouTube.

The first wired generation raised in the virtual realm is coming of age and recreating the world in their image. In a galaxy not too far away, digital natives are deserting traditional sources of information for an emerging journalism of interactive multimedia experiences informed by the timeless dynamics of story.

Such an approach envisions new narrative forms as sophisticated play to engage a tribe of gamers who demand stimulating complex systems. Through their ability to renew age-old modes of cultural expression, games can be adjuncts to topical issues, providing fresh experiences to spur community interactions.

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Educators and traditional media approach the medium of games with fear. Where do games belong in J schools?

I spoke about these issues at the Computer Games, Multimedia and Allied Technology 08 Conference in Singapore. My talk, Playing For Real: Re-Imagining Journalistic Narratives in a Game Environment, presented ideas on augmenting play with media narratives to connect audiences to current events and issues.

I shared best practices to re-imagine a knowledge aesthetic that provides core journalistic services built around a community of media producers, visual storytellers, information designers, narrative architects and game developers.


At the Games for Change Festival in Manhattan, Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof evangelized the idea that online games could teach people the news.

In his keynote to about 400 humanitarians, journalists, academics and game designers, Kristof said people can use games as an entry point, make an emotional connection, learn a little about the complexities and truly become engaged in an issue.

In fact, he’s developing a free online-social-networking game to go with his new book due out in September. Authored with wife, Sheryl WuDunn, the book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a serious work about the oppression of third-world women.

Kristof explained how an MTV game had opened his eyes to the true power of that online messaging format as a reporting tool. Watch the keynote below:

It’s entirely possible to do journalism without the end product necessarily being a 20-inch story in a newspaper or a three-minute piece on the nightly news.The evolution towards allowing the reporting of facts and the investigation of circumstances, which is at the core of what journalists do, to exist in other forms is I think a necessary wrestling with the new medium.

Joshua Benton, Director of Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

What is there to celebrate and fear when a young medium and old media converge on new media to reach a post-MTV audience? What happens when information is retooled as enthralling cinematic experiences that tap the emotion and intellect through the interplay of narrative, performance and play? What are the consequences of this fundamental shift in media creation and use? These are questions to be explored in the idea of games as journalistic narratives .

Related posts:
Could Online Games Save the News?
Newsgame, or Editorial Game?
History of Editorial Games, Part One
Where do games belong in Journalism schools?
Documentary Games & the Life and Dead of the Saga Song
Political Games Archives
Playing For Real: Re-Imagining Journalistic Narratives in a Game Environment.
The Darfur Case – Youtube video
Charting the Digital Revolution



1. OnlineGamesPro - August 29, 2009

I look forward to reading his book, and await the free online-social-networking game.

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