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3 reasons why journalists are wary of gamification: an interview with Al Jazeera’s Juliana Ruhfus

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Al Jazeera’s gamified project’s symbol

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Click on the player above to listen to full audio of Alex’s interview

Al Jazeera’s Juliana Ruhfus was one of a team of reporters involved in creating an award-winning news game. In a two-part guest post for OJB, Alex Iacovangelo interviews Juliana (full audio above) in the context of wider issues with gamification that have prevented it being more widely used in journalism.

Why is gamification, one of the greatest forms of interaction available, so slow to be adopted by journalists at a time when engaging audiences is more important than ever?

One of the most recent examples of gamification in journalism is Al Jazeera‘s award-winning investigative news piece on illegal fishing in Africa, which they turned into a standalone educational game.

The story on illegal fishing focused on an injustice that needed to be exposed. But attracting and enlightening thousands of readers to injustices exposed in investigative pieces is a difficult challenge – especially when they are taking place so far from the audience’s home.

Juliana Ruhfus, Al Jazeera’s senior reporter, told us that:

“Quite a few people have reacted positively and I think the process of investigative journalism lends itself particularly well to be gamified because you have the process of evidence gathering, of collecting clues and discovery.

“The vast majority of people who’ve been on the interactive project that we’ve created are first time visitors to Al Jazeera, so it certainly seems that one thing we’ve managed to do is reach different audiences.”

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