Journalism and games: Just a spoonful of sugar for the news?

Irene Serrano Vazquez


During almost two decades and due to the widespread use of the internet in Western countries, journalism has been adapting its format to the new medium, suffering changes at every level: from the way to tell and pack the stories, to the daily routines of newsrooms. Nevertheless, despite journalism having officially jumped into the waters of the World Wide Web, news corporations are still wondering how to take the most out of it, not only to make the business profitable again but also to successfully reach and involve audiences and communicate a massage in the best possible way. In the middle of this quicksand, the question of the benefits and possibilities of telling the news through digital games has arisen in the last years. But is it possible to tell a story through a videogame while respecting the basis of journalism? In its first stage, this paper analyses the different ways in which games have been related with journalism and examines the advantages and disadvantages, from the point of view of the current challenges in journalism and the features of the different established genres. Secondly, it proposes a new object of study, playful journalism. A concrete example of what can be considered as playful journalism, a section of the Spanish news site that called to the participation of the readers, is analyzed. For this paper some users have been interviewed in order to analyze if the game mechanic included in the news site increased their interest into the site and their participation.