On the eve of World Maritime Day, on 25 September 2014, Al Jazeera is launching a ground-breaking interactive web game that allows the gamer to learn how to expose the multi-million dollar illegal fishing trade affecting West Africa’s poorest people.
In the interactive investigation tool developed by Italy’s Altera Studio team, gamers can become an Al Jazeera journalist, gathering evidence and notes, and building a case to report on the environmental crime of illegal fishing in Sierra Leone, a crime stealing a precious protein source for millions.
The topic chosen is based on a report by journalist Juliana Ruhfus Pirate Fishing, for the Al Jazeera series People & Power, nominated for the Royal Television Society Awards.
“We’re basically gamifying current affairs,” says People & Power Correspondent Juliana Ruhfus. “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 tool highlights the investigative journalism process of evidence-collection, fact checking and note taking.
“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”, comments Juliana.