Serious Media for Good: Games & Journalism Part III

BY Dan Norton
Part 3: How Games and Journalism can support each other

Click here to read Serious Games for Good: Games & Journalism Part 1
Click here to read Serious Games for Good: Games & Journalism Part 2

So I suppose I’ve painted myself in a corner here: I’ve established that games, essentially are a selfish, insulated experience, and that journalism is tied to the consumer’s experiences and ability to impact the real world. BUT! BUT! I think there’s a way to reconcile these and even see how games can complement journalism.

Serious journalism needs readers who care *before* they read. They need to care at least enough to get past the headline or link title. A piece of journalism about a government abuse may incense a reader, but unless that reader thinks to themselves “I’m the type of person who can do something about this”, no change will occur. Games might be a model to generate that intrinsic interest...in the extrinsic.

Games need players who care *after* they play (See where I’m going with this?). They need tools to get players to understand how their experience and new perspective can be turned into a way of asking questions about the world and ideally enacting change for good. Journalism might be able to provide that extrinsic interest...in their newly formed intrinsic goals.

So step 1, the bluntest instrument, is to make games to foster intrinsic interest, then connect those players to the news and information they need to catalyze into change and impact. But how is this accomplished? A link at the end of a game? A community/classroom curriculum to support the transfer?

I don’t know. Certainly those can help, but there must be some interesting ways to integrate beyond just “put these two things near each other.” Can we create games that foster community involvement with news stories? Can we impart playful practices that connect people with similar community service interests? Can we get newspapers to talk about games intelligently as a form of media that can be used for good?

Maybe! It’s certainly worth a shot!