Gamifying Current Affairs: Al Jazeera Launches ‘Pirate Fishing’ Game

Al Jazeera launched an interactive game this week based on investigating the illegal pirate fishing in the Sierra Leone. Gamers become a reporter, gathering evidence and notes. By watching videos and viewing photos, the “reporter” puts the content in the correct “notebook” and can move up levels.

The game is based on a report called “Pirate Fishing” done by Juliana Ruhfus for the Al Jazeera series People & Power, nominated for the Royal Television Society Awards. An Italian based agency, Altera Studios, partnered with the news organization to create the interactive game, which can be played on a desktop or on mobile. The angle of “building a case” is a nice lesson for younger students or people outside of the field, even; it makes journalism seem adventurous, which it should be. The game focuses on evidence collection, fact checking, and background note taking. Ruhfus is quoted in the release:

Investigative journalism can be seen as quite high-brow, whereas ‘gamification’ can open it up to  a new generation of digital-savvy journalists. It’s important for us to push the boundaries and explore new ways to reach audiences…The game highlights how news stories are created, and the benchmarks needed to qualify your reporting. We’ve been encouraged by the response so far.

You can play the game here.