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Games offer training opportunities for journalists April 5, 2008

Posted by Robert Rich in symposium.
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Are games relevant to journalism? Absolutely, said Howard Finberg, Executive Director of the Poynter Institute’s NewsU.org.

“It’s about keeping the audience involved and informing people by getting them to do something,” Finberg said. “If we are a business, then how are we successful? Keep the audience engaged.”

Finberg spoke about NewsU, which describes itself as an e-learning site for journalism training. The training is based on 65 modules which are centered around major themes like reporting, editing and producing.

Some of the games NewsU has developed are similar to popular game shows and games of old, including a game for a newly-named news director based on the Pac-Man arcade game, and a game similar to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

“If you’re thinking about games for news sites, put them in a context people can understand,” Finberg said. “We believe games work.”

Finberg said a single message to take away is that games are “really important.”

“Information can be fun,” Finberg said. “The best games in my mind are the ones that focus on a single thing.”

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