Newsgames.  Activist Games.  Social Impact games

The world needs more of them and we want to help make it happen. The Newsjam is an opportunity to rally our community around games for reporting, data driven play and persuasive games.  Work and play with other game designers, programmers and artists to inspire the spirit of political activism and news reporting into games. 

The Newsjam is an event sponsored by the Knight Foundation and the University of Miami School of Communication.  It is a weekend long game jam with a very specific focus  - the intersection of news, games. and community.  It’s an opportunity to experiment with games as a way of connecting people with the news, empowering citizen reporters or re-envision the way we learn about the world around us. 

This jam is a first time journey into unknown territory.  What world changing game will you make?

The event will open on October 20th at 6:30PM, and end at 2:30 on Sunday, October 22nd. Beyond providing a the opportunity to work with others, the event will be hosted by professional journalists, game designers, artists, and developers. Quick, informative, micro-talks on topics will be part of the weekend long program. The event will end with a public showcase of the games.

We invite anyone and everyone who is interested in making digital games, location based games, mobile games, board games, print to play and more to come. The best games may be invited to extend development toward a final, public release under guidance from experienced professionals in our community.

The world is changing. We invite you to be a part of that change.

*Members of the teams with the best designs will be awarded with a trip to Washington, DC in December (flight and hotel covered by us).

Participate now! Register by October 16th.
view our schedule

Game Jam 101

Game jams are all day (and sometimes night) game making marathons. Start with lots of energy. After that, think about bringing anything that's going to help you be creative, comfortable, and brilliant. Your paid registration includes at least 3 meals (lunch and dinner) and snacks. Since it's on the University of Miami's campus, you'll have plenty of options if you want to get out and stretch your legs.

Attending our jam is like going to camp for the weekend (without tents, cots, or the outdoors). Pack accordingly, but leave the bug spray at home. We provide community space, conference rooms, people to collaborate with, prizes, Internet access and more. Depending on your distance from the university, you may want a place to stay at night.
Here are a few things you might want to bring:

Newsgames 101

We define Newsgames broadly. We want to help people make games about current topics. Journalism, social change, and political action happen in lots of ways today, and we think games should be a part of those equations. Maybe you'll design the next climate change game, or provide new perspective on immigration. Maybe you'll help us experience our news in news ways, or find playful ways to get us inspired to take action. We want you to feel free to do what you want. If you need some help understanding Newsgames, here's some resources and inspiration we think you should consider:

Book: Newsgames: Journalism at Play

Journalism has embraced digital media in its struggle to survive. But most online journalism just translates existing practices to the Web: stories are written and edited as they are for print; video and audio features are produced as they would be for television and radio. The authors of Newsgames propose a new way of doing good journalism: videogames.

Examples: Newsgames at Games for Change
A collection of newsgames from the Games for Change Festival collection

Projects: Jolt Initiative

A collaboration between American University’s GameLab and School of Communication tasked with exploring the intersection of journalism and game design. JoLT is funded by a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Academic Reading:

Sicart, Miguel. "Newsgames: Theory and Design." International Conference on Entertainment Computing. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2008.

Treanor, Mike, and Michael Mateas. "Newsgames-Procedural Rhetoric Meets Political Cartoons." DiGRA Conference. 2009.



Hosts and Sponsors


The University of Miami, School of Communication


Organizer: Lindsay Grace

Lindsay is the visiting Knight Chair at the University of Miami and founding director of the American University Game Lab and Studio. He has published more than 50 articles on game design, more than 20 games and apps, and exhibits his game designs internationally. Lindsay is one of 5 board members who run the non-profit Global Game Jam®, a leader in game jam events.


Artist-facilitator: J. Rice

Joyce is a designer, illustrator, and all-around digital media professional who co-founded Symbolia and lead high-profile game projects for Polygon/Vox Media, WAMU and others. Joyce has spoken at SXSW, GDC and others.

Journalism-Design Facilitator: A. Gupta:

Anika is a creative, dynamic, leader who helps teams and organizations improve journalism and deepen online community through technology. Her experience includes work at National Geographic and CNN IBN.



The Work

The following games were made by participants of the Newsjam in less than 48 hours. Many of the participation had never made a game ever. Teams started on Friday at 7:00pm and stopped at noon on Sunday. These are the games they made:
  • Title: Rising Tide
    The game is a Pixelated 2d Platformer about global warming. Players control two players that must work together to help the world defeat global warming. Global warming contributes to the rise in ocean levels and melting glaciers. If the players fight, global warming wins. Players must plant trees, discard trash appropriately and preserve water to both survive.
  • Title: I am a Bot
    It’s the 21st century and humanity has uploaded themselves into computers. There they met their greatest match: The Overmind, Bot of bots. Bots control everything now, the only way to survive is to hide yourself among them. You are Emma Abbot and you must change your profile so that bots believe you are also a bot.
  • Title: News-check
    News-check is a game about practiciting spotting elements of fake news vs real news.
  • Title: LA Firefighting
    A pixel-art styled 2D side view puzzle solving game about the fires in LA. The goal is to avoid the fire and save citizens and animals.
  • Title: Hurl the Hurasser
    Harrassment can trap women in a bubble of isolation and shame. But when women speak out, they can tip the balance of power and hurl the harasser. Tap the bubbles to help the women speak up and break out.

Thanks to everyone who participated!


Our handy guide to the jam and resource lists is here


Feel free to check the schedule before you arrive. Teams will be formed on the first day of the event. Pictures of the space are below and for those who will be driving the event, parking information is as follows: