In the final panel debate of Journalism.co.uk’s news:rewired event in June – “the nouveau niche” – interactive producer and games designer Philip Trippenbach declared to delegates that “video games are the future of journalism.”
“It’s important for us to realise that games are a medium just like text and pictures. As complex data sets become more and more available, the interactivity around it becomes more important – video games are a great way of doing that.”
In this way, ‘games’ could provide an opportunity to do something different with data, something which really draws the reader into the news and involves them in the creation or impact of the story. It touches on many of the key terms in journalism today – interactivity, personalisation, engagement.
While this prompted some scepticism from the audience at the time, it’s obviously not a new phenomenon. Last year, over on Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism Blog, journalist Karthika Muthukumaraswamy offered plenty of examples of innovative and successful game-based technologies and processes in journalism arenas. And just last week the potential lessons for online publishers from the gaming world were discussed in an article on memeburn.com.
But there are still many questions to answer on this topic for those journalists who remain unsure about how games can, and should, best be integrated into news media, if at all? Therefore, this topic will take the spotlight in the final session of news:rewired – beyond the story. We want to pick up where Philip left off and really get to grips with the opportunities gaming could have for journalism and approach head-on the concerns for journalists and news organisations.
This will mean first of all answering what exactly we might mean by ‘gaming’ – for example, how can we define the difference between what may be a highly interactive visualisation and a journalism game, or are they the same thing? What different ways could news be transformed into gaming platforms and how can we know what’s right for our output and audience. And one big question – how can we ensure we maintain the integrity of our content?
Feel free to leave your thoughts below on any issues you want to see covered in this session and please let us know of any examples of innovative news games you’d like to see potentially shared with the journalism community at our event. We’ll be announcing the speakers very soon.