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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.
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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


A Uniquely Singapore Toilet Break. March 2, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Essays, News, Singapore, YouTube.
Tags: , , ,

It’s been four days since Mas Selamat Kastari answered nature’s call and put Singapore in the global spotlight. The city’s most wanted man, and now ubiquitous poster boy, gave his guards the slip during a toilet break in a top security detention facility on the island. Accused of plotting to crash a plane into Changi Airport in 2001, Mas Selamat was never charged in court. At the time of his escape, he was being held under an internal security law that allows for detention without trial.


The circumstances surrounding the prison break in a city-state that touts itself tops in everything – from being a terror target to policing and ministerial pay – are as incredulous as the escape is audacious. It’s been 86 hours. Tens of thousands of police and security personnel are still looking for this middle-aged Singaporean national with a limp.

3.9 million mobile subscribers in the city will receive a photo of Mas Selamat via multimedia messaging from Singapore’s three main telecommunications companies. Singtel, the country’s biggest telco, will also send the fugitive’s photograph and a physical description to Internet subscribers.

There is no official word on how Mas Selamat breached one of the tightest security apparatus in the world. MSM has not raised the tough questions which are being asked on the Web with increasing derision. Mas Selamat’s face in possible guises are beginning to appear on blogs and portals. As much as the case is grist for conspiracy theorists, The Great Singapore Escape is becoming fodder for Photoshop artists and mash-ups. Here’s a sampling of the fare:

Possible Guises of Mas Selamat from NEW PAPER

Possible Guises of Mas Selamat from TALKINGCOCK.COM

Spoof: Mas Selamat Kastari – Confession of a Terrorist

Apology: DPM Wong Kan Seng Informs Parliament

Related Reads:
Interpol Global Red Alert
Comments by Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng on 2 March 2008 at the Visit to the Special Operation Command
MHA Press Release: Escape Of JI Detainee Mas Selamat From Detention

The Great Escape
Was Mas Selamat Kastari Assisted in His Escape? And By Whom?
Questions That Wong Kan Seng Must Answer
My Theory of the Great Escape of Mas Selamat