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BuzzFeed newsgame production workshop

Gaming and Journalism students partner with leading news media company BuzzFeed UK to explore online newsgames, a cutting-edge form of journalism

The new journalism is bold, immersive and experimental. To thrive in the digital landscape, journalists need to reinvent the way that they communicate with audiences. So, we encourage our students to experiment with how journalism of the future will be played, not read. This gamification of news content is a growing trend; M2 Research predicts that gamification will grow to a £1.8bn industry by the end of 2016. 

BA (Hons) Journalism and BA (Hons) Games Design and Development students gain hands-on experience working to a live brief set by BuzzFeed's Senior Writer, Tom Phillips, to create an online game in response to items on the current news agenda. 

During a two-day workshop, students selected trending news stories and worked in teams with coders, artists and designers from Auroch Digital, a world-leading newsgame development agency, to develop their games. The workshop took place in LSBU's dedicated Gaming Studio, which offers a purpose-built facility for the study and production of video games. 

Creating differentiation through interactive content

Newsgames allow readers to engage with the news in a highly interactive way and are seen by many as playing a key role in the future of news production. The 2015 Content Preferences Survey from Demand Gen found that 88% of users said interactive content is somewhat or very effective in creating differentiation. This is in comparison to 55% for passive content. 

Work with an industry-leading media outlet

Student Patryk Orlowski said: "Working with BuzzFeed is very exciting, it's scary, but in a really good way. It's great to have the freedom to develop a game around a potentially risky news topic, and this will really help me to build my confidence. This project will give me something real to show on my CV, in a very exciting new area of gaming."

George Voicke, another gaming student, added: "It's great for students to be able to try something new here; testing out ideas, having a different viewpoint and getting good practical experience in this new area of gaming is really important."

The future journalism

Professor Janet Jones, Dean of LSBU's School of Arts and Creative Industries, arranged the workshop to show students of gaming and journalism that different skills are now being demanded by employers in contemporary media production. Janet Jones commented, "Twitter, YouTube and Instagram have become landmarks in the evolution of digital journalism production. All are now central to journalism practice; yet the best journalism of the future will not be simply read or watched, but played.

"Journalists are testing the limitations and possibilities of game production as part of the 24 hour news flow process. We're asking here if games might be superior in their ability to handle a story effectively."