Games As Journalism: A Quick Fix For A Dying Medium?

An Online Journalism Blog article says that traditional news outlets need to start making video games that either replace or improve the delivery of news stories.

It's no secret that print journalism is a rotting corpse; legitimate new sources are packing up and heading for the web left and right. With new levels of interactivity come new possibilities for the way we create and consume journalism. This article says online gaming is where it's at.

"BlackBerrys, iPods and Kindles are not enough anymore. Let's add a joystick to the expanding repertoire of tools available to news consumers.

Gaming is often overlooked as a tool for disseminating news. Online games are attempting to explain the economy through the politics of oil, educate users on disaster readiness in the context of Hurricane Katrina and, perhaps more in line with traditional video games, some are exploring the various military operations implemented in the Iraq war. In a strange likeness to fantasy sports, one game allowed people to draft their own cabinet picks for Obama's then-new administration."

The article goes on to conclude:

"In order to interest readers and keep them interested, news organizations should come up with ways to incorporate news in video game format without extricating the two."

"It's much more complex than that," Georgia Tech Professor Ian Bogost – whose Journalism and Games Project is sourced several times in the article – said. "The correct question [the article should be asking] is: ‘How can the institution of journalism benefit from video games, and vice versa.' This article is a great example of what's wrong with journalism in general. It assumes simple fixes: take news, add games, stir – profit."

From his perspective, games as journalism is not about keeping readers entertained or replacing traditional reporting with a virtual representation that readers can play around with. It should be about applying journalistic values – accurate information that helps people make decisions about their lives – to video games.

So take a look at some of these examples that the article kicks around both as good and bad applications of games to journalism: Darfur is Dying, Ars Regendi and Class Matters. Ask yourself if "games" like these will take the place of articles like these.

If your answer is yes, then proceed to this line of questioning about fun and games. If your answer is no, keep an eye on Bogost at the next Games For Change conference; we'll see if he can suss out where the games and journalism connection really lies.

Games and Journalism: Now that journalism is in trouble, why not play with it? [Online Journalism Blog]