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Medill Freshmen in Competition: New Game Tracks Media Use

Game developed by professor aims to develop more literate news consumers

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The media landscape is rife with competition among news organizations. But now, news consumers can compete with each other. With the launch today of an application-based game developed by a Northwestern University professor, users can challenge friends while becoming more literate news consumers.

Headliner is a game that tracks news consumption and ranks users within their social networks. Today, freshmen at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications are kicking off the competition by logging their media use in Headliner as part of a fall quarter class.

Users are ranked and have the opportunity to earn badges and compete with friends; consuming news becomes fun and social, giving an incentive to view and participate in the news of the day and improve users’ media literacy.

Medill Associate Professor Jeremy Gilbert created the game as part of the McCormick Foundation’s Why News Matters program. He worked with Medill undergraduates and Smart Media Creative to build the prototype application. 

“Gaming is a powerful tool that can engage people in activities they know they should do, but might not,” Gilbert said. “Headliner makes it easy to track the news users consume, and we think that will make them better, more media literate members of society.”

Why News Matters is a grant-making program of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation that is designed to enhance news literacy skills and programs in Chicago.

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