Headliner: Play the game, get the news

Project: Research project

Project Details


The last decade has radically re-shaped news consumption habits. Most people no longer wake up to a newspaper, listen to local news radio on their way to and from work or settle down to watch the evening news before bed. (Pew, 2008) Journalists and journalism are as important as ever, but a new generation of digital natives came of age without traditional media literacy -- reading newspapers, listening to news radio or watching television news (Pew, 2011). Within the last decade, the number of people who get their news from the Internet has quadrupled. But the change of news habits seems to have accompanied a decline in media literacy -- the ability to apply critical reasoning to the assessment of news reporting (Pew 2009). And the lost lifelong news habits are crucial to a functioning democracy. Headliner addresses these changing patterns of news consumption by encouraging media literacy of Internet users through an engaging, competitive environment. It records users' news media activities (such as the type of news media they engage with, the amount of time they spend viewing or listening to news media and how participatory they are in analysis and feedback) and ranks them within their social networks, providing users with the opportunity to receive badges and "duel" with friends as an incentive to view and participate in the news of the day, improving their media literacy. Playing the Game By cataloging their news diet, users build media literacy (Thoman, 1995). Introducing gaming mechanics will help continually engage users and encourage thoughtful news behaviors -- like viewing new and different sources. Headliner's reward and ranking system has three main sections: a leaderboard, badges and challenges.
Effective start/end date1/1/1312/31/13


  • Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation (award letter 02/14/2013)


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