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Teaching News Literacy: Video game played 40,000 times and counting

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-25 13:46:01-05
  • A video game, "Headlines & High Water," can offer a two-hour lesson on news and news literacy as players take on the role of a journalist
  • This week is National News Literacy Week, hosted by Scripps (the parent company of NBC 26) and the News Literacy Project
  • Watch the video to see excerpts from the game

A video game can offer a two-hour lesson on news and news literacy.
The game, "Headlines & High Water," allows someone to play a young journalist in a town that suffers a major flood during an annual festival.

The game is from UW-Madison's Field Day Lab.

"...[W]e work with teachers throughout Wisconsin, so it's getting played... throughout Wisconsin schools," said Sarah Gagnon, studio director at Field Day Lab.

The News Literacy Project defines news literacy as "the ability to determine the credibility of news and other information and to recognize the standards of fact-based journalism to know what to trust, share and act on."  Scripps (the parent company of NBC 26) and the News Literacy Project are hosting National News Literacy Week.

"Headlines & High Water," which is free, has been played almost 40,000 times since its launch last April, Gagnon said.

Teaching through a video game is a way to try to reach a younger audience, Gagnon said.

"I really think that media studies in general, media literacy, needs to be taught earlier," Gagnon said, who noted that media studies or media literacy generally is not taught until high school.

"This game was oriented towards middle school, and that's really important, I think, as kids are getting access to media earlier."