NewsArcade is a project merging journalism and current real world news consumption through gamification. We believe there is a potential for reaching new audiences by putting core editorial methods at play. Join the mission to help us succeed in introducing the solid legacy of news media to the next generation.
By Aslak Gottlieb, Journalistic Lecturer at Southern University of Denmark.
“The press exists to serve public good. And journalism is the best obtainable version of the truth”. The words belong to Carl Bernstein, giving a keynote speech in Copenhagen four years ago. The Danish Media Association had invited the Pulitzer Prize winning icon of modern journalism to raise a debate on what role newsrooms should play in the future. Being one of the two investigative journalists whose incredible effort led to the Watergate scandal eventually forcing President Nixon to resign, the statement seemed obvious in the fine conference hall, packed with Editors in Chief from Danish news media of all kinds.
Yet, many were surprised, when Bernstein continued: “We have wrongly in journalism seen our job to bring down someone from office. It’s not. Our job is to inform people in order for them to make up their own mind.”
Newsgaming will not bring anyone down from office. But our first user investigations in the NewsArcade project indicates that a gamified news experience represents an editorial way to connect new audiences on digital platforms with journalism. Following Bernstein’s reconsiderations of journalists’ jobs, the consortium behind NewsArcade has agreed on a shortlist of things that our journalistic tool should do for the end users. That is to:
- Empower me to become an informed and responsible citizen by keeping me updated on the news
- Engage me in a game experience while I consume real world news I would like to follow
- Educate me in identifying quality information by taking me behind the scenes in the newsroom
- Create shortcuts for me to understand the current affairs that affects my life
- Connect me to a news environment of inspiring people and peers
As you see, focus is on the users’ needs. Not on society’s and the democratic institutions’. So it must be, when developing any digital tools. Focus on the users’ needs is the obvious position from where to begin. Ironically the proud ideals of journalism as almost a fine art in “bringing down people from office” or alike heroic achievements, can make transformations in a digital newsroom subtle.
It is true that journalism through history has earned its solid image of highly refined media content based on democratic values of free speech. But as Bernstein suggests, it might turn into an Achilles’ heel for journalists, if they insist in a user relationship based on being authoritarian storytellers of the truth.
|NewsArcade is a 2 year Creative Europe-Media co-funded project (project no: 101060250) with a mission to bring together journalism and news consumption closely by means of gamification as an educational approach to improve young adults’ news literacy, critical thinking skills and thus, tackle disinformation and the challenges faced by media companies. Find us at newsarcade.eu
The core question for us in the NewsArcade consortium is how to carry on the fine legacy of journalism “being the best obtainable version of the truth” at the same time as we are introducing a news format, where users are invited to make some of editorial decisions usually taken by editors and journalists thereby co-creating how an actual and real life news story is told.
Yes, we are seriously going to let users play their way through current news stories. At this point we are not able to showcase how with a pilot, but wireframes and a minimum viable project is shortly on its way.
Our promise to both users and newsrooms is that NewsArcade will strive as much as journalists have always done to obtain the best version of the truth. Which means that sources, facts, photos and other components in an interactive news story created through gamification will have the same high ethical standard as a quality news story is supposed to have.
As NewsArcade is supported by Creative Europe, part of the deal is to communicate and openly share our work we do in the consortium. This blogpost serves as an invitation to:
Download our report on user requirements. It contains latest findings and overview on GenZ news media habits, gamification trends, updates on news literacy as well as uniquely fresh interviews with journalists and publishers on challenges for the news industry when trying to engage the next generation of media users.
Join our community on LinkedIN. Well, our LinkedIn group has just recently been started. But please don’t hesitate to join and help us create an interdisciplinary community of peers concerned with innovation in journalism, gamification and news literacy.
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Become affiliated as a news publisher. This fall we begin to scale up experiments with end users in real news environments. As an affiliate partner taking part in experiments, you gain the advantage of being a first mover on news gamification. Write us an e-mail at [email protected]
NewsArcade is a tool for telling gamified news stories in different game modes which lets the player try and experience different roles and agendas in regards to angling and creation of a given story.
The tool enables the news publisher to update and add content easily. As such NewsArcade will be
● easy to use for the journalists creating interactive stories
● technically easy to embed on different possible sites and share on Social Media
● supporting language versioning for different markets/websites
● easy to experience/explore for the user through a web and mobile interface
● possible to scale technically with stories embedded on many sites and with large user numbers
● possible to integrate with paywalls or other login based content gating