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The big hack: Pushing newsgames further

IMG_0820Bring programmers, graphic designers and journalists together and give them 48 hours to develop games to help explain, clarify or interpret the news. That was the idea behind the Newsgames Hackathon held in the German city of Cologne this week.

Journalism orientated hackathons are fast becoming a valuable way of generating new ideas and formats for digital media.


Marcus Bösch

“I always think it’s fantastic that people with different backgrounds work together,” said newsgames hackathon organizer, Marcus Bösch.

Bösch is a journalist and media trainer (he also works for DW Akademie) and is at the forefront of developing news games in Germany, where he co-founded the Good Evil games studio.

“You have a journalist and a programmer and they talk together to solve problems,” Bösch said to onMedia’s Guy Degen at the event, which ran from May 6-7, 2014.

“That’s the way we should work. That’s the only way forward. Otherwise we’ll keep on publishing articles that were made out of a Reuters feed for the next hundred years and that can’t be the future of journalism.”

The newsgames expert Tomas Rawlings was also on hand in Cologne to give advice to the hackers. He’s conscious that news editors often have a strong perception that “games equal fun or equal trivial” or the medium “can’t be used to cover a serious subject”.

Tomas Rawlings

Rawlings argues that newsgames should focus on engagement and not necessarily on being fun to play. His gaming studio Auroch Digital has developed successful newsgames that have tackled serious topics such as the civil war in Syria and climate change.


Friday 2014-05-09


Journalism at play

The term newsgames has been around since the early 2000s and refers to digital games, which are used in a journalistic context and have been developed with journalistic and ethical standards in mind. In contrast to traditional linear media, these games offer an interactive experience of content. Leading media houses such as the New York Times, BBC, the Guardian and Le Monde have already experimented with this storytelling format.

Newsgames need not be expensive and complicated to develop. In this post, Marcus Bösch, DW Akademie trainer and director of the Serious Game Studios the Good Evil, explains what you need to produce a small game based on a straightforward example.


Wednesday 2013-10-16



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Marcus Bösch: Newsgames let your audience play with news

From a playable political cartoon to a simulation of Osama bin Ladens death – newsgames are embraced by the media to playfully engage the audience in important events. In other words, newsgames are games put to use in the context of journalism.

“Newsgames will not replace classical approaches to news but they can and will enhance and augment digital journalism in the 21st century,” says Marcus Bösch.

The freelance journalism trainer has led numerous workshops for DW Akademie and is the co-founder of The Good Evil game studio. DW Akademie’s Natalia Karbasova spoke with Marcus Bösch about the idea behind newsgames, best practices and the future of newsgames.


Friday 2013-07-12



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