Read & Respond week 14 – Past Knight Challenge Winners (and some ARGs)

This week, your overview assignment for the Knight News Challenge assignment is due. To assist in that, you’ll be looking at some past winners in your chosen area of interest (so you might want to choose one). There’s a second part to the reading assignment as well – on ARGs – which I’ll post below.

Part 1: KNC Winners

Each of you has to choose one of five areas of interest for your initial proposal (due Tuesday, Nov. 19):

Take a look at the original announcement and the winners for the area you’ve chosen. Don’t just watch the video at the top. Check out their pitch videos or presentations, if they’re available. In the first part of your response, you’ll do the following:

  1. Name the area you’ve chosen from the list.
  2. Discuss how past winners inform your own ideas.

Part 2: ARGs

This part will be kind of strange compared to what we’ve done so far this semester. I’d like you to learn a bit about Alternate Reality Games, or ARGs. This list from Cracked covers some of the best known ARGs, including The Beast (arguably the first), ilovebees, and others. A more recent example is The Institute – watch this introduction and try not to get confused. In fact, here’s a list of ARGs, many of which are happening all around us RIGHT NOW. Weird, huh?

(By the way, there are a number of frequently used tricks you’ll see again and again in ARGs. Might come in handy, no?)

ARGs have been used for promotion for years: ilovebees, for example, was a marketing gimmick for Halo 2. What do you think of the form? Is there a journalistic application here? Could you use it in a stratcomm campaign? What can we take away from this alternative storytelling approach?

Responses are due as a comment to this post by noon, Monday, November 18.

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44 Responses to Read & Respond week 14 – Past Knight Challenge Winners (and some ARGs)

  1. 1. I have chosen mobile.
    2. The past winners in this area are phenomenal. I was thoroughly impressed by the creativity and usefulness of all of these ideas. My favorite was the Textizen idea because it is truly so simple. All citizens have to do is answer a survey question via text. This could make data collection so much easier for both the respondent and the collectors.

    After looking over these ideas, I realize that I need to come up with an idea that makes data collection, storage and/or dissemination easier for everyone involved, and mobile is the perfect approach to this. So many people have access to mobile phones, giving them the ability to collect and share data at the tips of their fingers.

    I have never even heard of ARGs before today. Honestly, the whole concept is very confusing at first. I guess it may get easier as you go. Although it doesn’t exactly seem like my kind of thing, it definitely has huge marketing opportunity potential. This kind of thing would be would be directed toward a very specific, segmented audience which is nice. Marketers would have the ability to really get to know what their audience is into. Instead of blatantly pushing an ad into someone’s face, marketers could use ARGs to “get to know” their audience, and promote products/services to them that fit their niche.

  2. I’m most interested in working on a Mobile project for the Knights Challenge. At first, I was concerned I could not be very innovative, but after reading the past winners and their work, I was inspired. I didn’t realize how many of the winners were touching less fortunate people in other countries and making a difference there. It’s always been my goal in life to use my media and journalism degree to help people. I’ve always been interested in going on a mission trip overseas, and I’ve been a part of several mission-oriented activities through the church. Additionally, I spent nearly three weeks in Peru when I was 17 years old as a twirling ambassador. The past winners gave me insight that I could really create some sort of mobile app to help spread the word about Christianity in other countries. Having several friends in the mission field, I know it’s sometimes difficult to physically deliver the word of God. Mobile would make it easier to do so, and also less dangerous for Christians to go into certain countries physically. I would most likely create an app, that would compile all the Acts 29 Network ideas, news, stories, videos, photos, etc all in one place. Acts 29 Network is small band of brothers to over 400 churches in the United States and networks of churches in multiple countries. Acts 29 is focused on the gospel and advancing the mission of Jesus through obediently planting church-planting churches. In fact, my home church here in Morgantown, Crossroads Church, is a part of the Acts 29 Network. We’ve planted churches in the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom so far. It would be amazing to reach and teach so many more churches around the globe. I obviously still need to narrow down exactly what my app is and what it will do, but those are just some thoughts that ran through my head when I was reading through the winners and their projects.

    I feel like virtual worlds and alternative reality games can be used journalistically. When I first started learning about these in other journalism classes I thought it was one of the more stupid ideas I’ve ever heard, but honestly it has some merit. The whole concept can be confusing, but several organizations including the American Cancer Society and NASA have used them effectively. NASA uses Second Life to reach out to students via the Second Life learning program. According to NASA, their Second Life presence, NASA’s Learning Technologies Project is reaching out to students and teachers via the Second Life program. To put it briefly, NASA uses Second Life to bring a lot of people into the agency’s general mission by letting them be a part of the daily successes at NASA. Second Life residents can mingle with scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Explorer Island. They can explore the face of the moon on Lunar Exploration Island and teleport to the e-Education island for free educational resources and a free virtual NASA mug and t-shirt. In addition, Avatars can visit an interactive planetarium with real-time showings of constellations. Second Life is a way for NASA’s Learning Technologies Project to use cutting-edge technology to help meet the organization’s education goals. So specifically this project seeks to educate, and use Second Life to do so. The project seeks to attract and retain students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM disciplines. NASA hopes the project will strengthen NASA’s and nation’s future workforce. So while NASA is using it to promote their organization, it also provides insight and education for journalists.

    In all of my reading of these, the primary use that I find is education, promotion, and marketing. So I suppose journalistically, these ARGs can be used a promotion and marketing tool, just as you would promote something through Twitter or Facebook as a PR agent. Using ARGs caters to a whole different demographic that you may be missing through Twitter or Facebook. On the flip side, you can gain a lot of knowledge and insight on certain organizations or companies through the education they provide to consumers via ARGs.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      I’m very glad to hear you found inspiration in mobility that aligns with your larger interests – that usually results in strong ideas. I’d never considered application of Second Life to ARGs (this was big a few years back, but I haven’t heard much about it in recent years). Often ARGs have low engagement, so it’s good to keep the barriers to entry low.

  3. ryanglaspell says:

    1. I also, have chosen mobile.

    2. What surprised me about some of the winners was that they didn’t really create any crazy new technology. Instead, they took existing tools and used them in a way that is widely beneficial for communities across the globe. Cafedirect Producers’ Foundation took something we view as even outdated, SMS, data-free messaging, and used it as a means to greatly affect the lives of countless farmers. It basically seems like one person sends a text, WeFarm acts as a middle man and sends it to a community of farmers, and those farmers reply with a solution. It is simple, yet the way it is executed offers a huge helping hand to farmers in need of advice to keep their business functioning.

    WITNESS took watermarks and simple metadetails, combined those with photo/video sharing and created a brilliant idea for more credible sources, a very big deal for journalism.

    In my project I want to follow the example that these two (as well as most of the winners), and not try to introduce new technology from scratch, but look to solve a problem by combining current tools in ways that haven’t necessarily been thought of. The assignment sheet you gave said we didn’t have to be technical maestros and I guess seeing all of the winners reinforces that idea. It’s about innovation, not invention.

    As for ARGs…wow. I have never heard of them, but my ability to respond is being impaired by the complexity and epicness of the examples I’ve read. I was extremely confused for the first 10 minutes of watching video/reading. I have no clue how I haven’t heard of these before. I feel like unless there’s a huge community of ARG fans that yearn for every ARG they can take part in (which there very well could be), ARGs don’t do a ton for the widespread niche audience they’re targeting. That isn’t to say they aren’t useful, though. I don’t think most people would catch the almost invisible hints and tips that come with many ARGs. I think it may reach two types of people: 1) Die-hard fans of whatever the ARG is promoting and 2) people who love to participate in ARGs, regardless of what it is promoting. There’s definitely great potential to intertwine an ARG with a strat comm campaign. It basically seems like a very discreet, shady yet intriguing campaign to begin with. The biggest purpose, other than being awesome, seems to be getting the word out and hyping up the release of something. As for journalistic approaches, those seem fewer. Maybe an ARG could be catered to work in conjunction with an article for an event, but ARGs seem to be spread across a period of time, and journalism is about immediacy, so I’m having a hard time visualizing it. Regardless, I think ARGs offer great insight on story telling. They may not engage a huge crowd, but those that they do pull in are pulled in tight. We can’t limit ourselves to too much of a niche group of people to be engaged, but the more interactive qualities that we offer through blogging, the more people will feel ownership and the more they’ll want to keep coming back.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      You write “they didn’t really create any crazy new technology” – SO glad you noticed that! The KNC can feel quite intimidating, but a big part of the point is that they want to encourage big ideas without freaking people out about the logistics (that’s what the funding is for). Regarding ARGs, this is definitely a niche thing, and you’re right that widespread engagement is often an issue. We’ll tinker with the idea a bit on Thursday.

  4. ebuchman5 says:

    I, too, am interested in working on a mobile project for the Knight News Challenge. Being in college, I know how connected most people are to their cell phones, and know that life would be completely different without them. At first, this project had me a little concerned because I wasn’t sure that any ideas I came up with would be innovative enough to actually make a difference in the world, however, I had an idea a few nights ago. I was reading an article for another class, and it was about the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. This article said that when people were texting in donations via the Red Cross, this money actually took months to get to the victims in Haiti. I was completely stunned by this, because that’s not the time that victims are in the most need. They obviously still need resources months, even years later, but immediately they also need money and resources immediately following natural disasters. This article explained that the reason for this is that the money comes out of the phone bill of the people who donate, which can take one or two bill cycles to clear from a cell phone company.

    Because of this, I would like to create some type of donation app for the Red Cross that allows the money to come directly out of the donator’s bank account instead of through their phone bill, so the recipients of this money can receive aid faster when it is most needed. Obviously most of the details still need worked out, but I think this could be a really useful tool for a lot of people and organizations. Looking through the past winners, I got an idea of what the actual challenge is all about, and how to create something that is easy and useful. I was amazed at some of the ideas people came up with, but it gave me inspiration to think that I could think of something simple that would have a big impact.

    I’m a little torn on any potential journalistic value from ARGs’, and really ARGs in general. I’ve learned a little about virtual gaming in other classes, but I’ve never even heard of ARGs before this read and respond. I think it’s a great idea for a strat comm campaign. I think one of the coolest parts about this idea is that you’re not interacting with a fictional world as a fictional character. The idea of viral marketing in general is new and innovative, and allowing for more interaction between fans and game characters in the real world is going to pay dividends in the long run. ARGs seem like an easy way to promote a product to an entirely different demographic because of its unusual means.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Good ideas for mobility. I’m excited to hear that several of you are considering humanitarian angles for your proposals – that translates into pretty immediate value. You’re right, ARGs have far most commonly been used as promotional tools – some well-made, some ill-advised. They’re not necessarily a digital tool, although that’s pretty common, and on Thursday we’ll play a bit with some of their analog possibilities.

  5. emilycharlottecotter says:

    For my project, I’ll be covering health because it concentrates on helping people through media, journalism and data. Unfortunately, the winners are not posted yet, so I’ll talk about the winners in data since that will play a huge role in my project, too. I really like how creative the winners are. Their work isn’t too much new, it takes from existing networks, data, etc. and makes it easier to use and makes it more accessible. For example, Open Elections makes it easier to analyze election data that already exists.

    Similarly, I want to use an existing platform, Google Maps to create maps of restaurants in communities with data on each restaurant’s nutritional information. I would want to also show where the food comes from (if the data is available) and map it out to promote eating locally. If people scope out healthier options, then restaurants will be more likely to carry healthier options. Beyond just picking healthy places to eat, I would like to promote consumers in a way similar to Foursquare. Perhaps when a user “checks in” and scans their receipt to prove they ate the healthy option, they get a coupon for their next visit.

    ARGs aren’t really my thing, however, I think they are genius for strategic-communications campaigns given the right target audience. Guys (and gals) who are interested in video games might really find this a cool way to interact with an advertisement. Perhaps one day it can spread to other audiences, but as it is now, I only see gamers getting into it.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Regarding your pitch, are you proposing an app? I assume it’s not just a Google Map (as we’ve discussed, Google’s open API allows users to apply their maps to lots of ends), but I’m not quite sure what.

  6. trentcu says:

    1. I’m going to focus on “open government.”

    2. In terms of how the past winners in that category can inform my work, I believe the common emphasis placed on both enhancing people’s connection with their government and increasing the efficiency of those connections provides me with solid framework for which to initiate my project. Though I’m still contemplating the specifics of my project, I believe that I want to devise some sort of mechanism to not only increase the public’s access to government- produced economic data, but enhance the public’s understanding of said data in terms of placing it into a broader context.

    After reading through the links pertaining to ARGs, it seems apparent that they have major marketing potential, given how they provide a platform for an audience to interact with artificial constructs that can be associated with an array of products. I do detect some semblance of journalistic application found in the story telling aspect of ARGs, as it reflects the broader emergence of interactive aspects in Journalism.

  7. PART 1
    1. I chose the Mobile Category.
    2. The past winners helped shape an idea for my project because I saw a lot of innovative mobile features. WITNESS was very cleaver because it takes pictures taken and puts a stamp of information and location. This is very useful for newsrooms all over the nation because they can easily put a lower third with location and other information without doing other research. Another idea that stood out to me was “Textizen”. The name is a mixture between “Texting” and “Citizen”. With “Textizen”, the government can text citizens for their opinion and surveys on important things the government can improve like parks and bus stops. It’s a very cool idea because it would reiterate our freedom to speak, and help us share our “voice”. These ideas helped shape mine because it incorporates the citizen and that’s exactly what my idea does. It helps give their audience a voice and make them feel important.

    PART 2
    ARGs is something I’ve never heard of. Even after reading the websites listed, it still seems a bit unfamiliar and confusing to me. On the most insane ARG games site, Halo 2-I love Bees is very strange. The top 5 really made almost no sense to me. I may just not be familiar with the music, movies and games they are associating these games with.

    As far as the journalist application, I think it’s great marketing because it seems like there are plenty of people out there playing ARGs. Connecting two things together is a pretty cool idea and you can use it was a stratcomm campaign because it connects two things unassociated.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Sounds like you’ve found some good inspiration in those winners. I look forward to what you come up with. And yes, the nature of ARGs is often weirdness, so we’ll talk a bit about what we can do with that.

  8. iamoore says:

    1) I chose to focus on the Mobile category.
    2) The winner withing this category that I thought would help me the most with planning for my idea was the TKOH project. This project served as a way to record oral histories of different people. This is the most social app that I found and decided that I wanted to follow their idea of linking people together. It sounds as though it is a simple ap, and I would like to make my app proposal simple as well.
    I enjoyed reading about the ARG’s. I used to live in San Diego and would attend Comic-Con every year. I participated in the Dark Knight ARG. I remember that everyone was fascinated by these joker dollars that were being passed around. While I was more focused on browsing around all the comics, lots of people were spending their whole time playing this game. This proves just how effective they can be as marketing tools. It is an interesting strategy to get people interested in a product. I believe there are less uses for ARG’s in Journalism than there are in marketing. I think people are more willing to participate in these games for a possible product they would be interested in getting, however they probably wouldn’t be as drawn to doing this with a news story. People still look at journalism as a passive consumption of news, so perhaps this idea would inhibit people from interacting with these games in a journalistic sense.

  9. samanthacart says:

    I have chosen to pursue the Networks category of the Knight News Challenge. I participated in a similar assignment to this in a previous class here in the SOJ where we had to create an idea and storyboard an app under the pretense of the Google Glass competition. As someone who does not consider themselves innovative (that class made me well aware that I fall on the late adopter end of the curve), what first drew me to this category was that the website did a great job of explaining that they are not asking for people to develop new networks. Powerhouses like Facebook and Twitter already exist. Instead, this challenge is about creating new ways to use the power of those networks to solve problems (or create opportunities— such as the flash mob example). I was particularly drawn to the recovers.org project where they used networks to mobilize volunteers during disasters. My brainstorming list seems to be centered on a similar theme wherein networks (specifically social networks) can be used for a greater good. I am considering trying to relate my networking idea to my personal blog and original research project.

    As for Alternate Reality Gaming, I am on the fence. I have seen evidence of how effective these can be in terms of marketing. Last year a PhD candidate from another university came to speak to our graduate class and presented her research on how advertisers use free ARGs. It was fascinating. Also, as I talked about during my original research presentation, social networks give businesses the power to create conversations with their audiences. Likewise, because of the nature of ARGs, this is another (very unique and innovative way) to create conversation. (Plus, everyone loves free stuff – hello Candy Crush.) While I don’t think they have an traditional journalist value, I can definitely see how they could be used in a strategic communications campaign. This is another area where the conversation is just as important as the message, and for this reason alternate reality gaming could be a huge asset.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Believe me, Samantha, I’m right with you in the late adopter boat (I didn’t own a cell phone, let alone a smartphone, until right before my daughter was born at the start of 2010). I think there’s a lot of value in the perspective that can provide, although I’m sure I’m biased. I’d be interested to hear more about that guest speaker’s talk on ARGs – it’s an idea I’m just starting to puzzle with.

  10. cricha18 says:

    I think for my Knight News Challenge project I will go with the mobile category as well. I liked the idea of people taking existing tools and technology and applying those things to create a completely new experience. The project that I really thought was great was Digital Democracy. The idea of having an app that will keep the people of the Peruvian Amazon informed of what is going on politically is absolutely great.

    As far as alternate reality games I never really knew they had existed. The concept of using real world technologies to complete actual challenges with real people is pretty well thought-out concept. I’m actually surprised I don’t hear more about ARGs as they are a great way to people involved with things and it’s a great way to gain promotion for something. I was, however, still confused how the ilovebees campaign related to Halo 2. In fact a lot of those ARGs used as examples confused me in how they related to whatever product was being promoted, but it’s a great way to get people involved.

    I do believe ARGs could be used in a journalistic approach. My only concern with using ARGs for this approach is the type of content being used. Like the Ilovebees and Halo 2 idea, I was extremely confused with the correlation between the two and if I were participating in that ARG I’m not sure I would have followed through with it myself. If someone is going to use an ARG for journalistic approach I think there should be more of a clear correlation.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Yep, that confusion is part of why ARGs tend to have a low participation rate (but also high devotion among those who DO follow it). Gains from these are probably marginal, but they can create an aura of mystery and “cool” around an idea if done correctly.

  11. I too have chosen the Mobile component of the Knight News Challenge because I found it the most interest and reliable to myself. I see how mobile technologies have improved communication and democracy as well as see a stronger future for new ideas for news and information through mobile. As technology advances we will use mobile to keep connecting and engaging communities. Through looking at the past Mobile Challenge winners I picked up a few ideas and what matters with within the Mobile category. With the WITNESS example people want an app that identifies information like location, and this is something I would like to incorporate into my innovation project. Another thing I see is many of the winners, like RootIO; a piloting software that connects basic mobile phones to turn them into micro community radio stations, use their app to help third world counties (like Uganda in this example). I liked the Cafedirect Producers’ Foundation most because it was specific to a group (small farmers in developing countries) and helped connect advice through the ask/answer of farming questions and tips through mobile phones. I want to create an app or project that helps advance a community (or country) by adding content and links straight to their hand, through their mobile phone! After reading the Mobile pitches and seeing the pitch videos it is clear that most of the work relating to Mobile improvement for news and the people, have to do with the people. Many of these programs and organizations want to create better communication and provide better networking and sharing to not only people in other countries (especially developing ones) but those without smart phones, and just mobile phones. I really liked WITNESS because it is a smart and simple solution to unsourced media that the community captures and sends/shares through their mobile phones. By launching the InformACcam application WITNESS was able to authenticate the origins of photos, videos, and audio that people capture through their mobile phone. The app allows used to add metadata into their video like who, what and where as well as let users share their information. After reading over past winners I have come to the conclusion that with Mobile it is important to help inform and connect to users everywhere (like developing countries- after all, the point is to help them) as well as help establish coverage and sharing of news through Mobile.

    As for Alternate Reality Gaming (Args) I do see a journalistic application within them since they let users interact with a fictional world using the real world that users live in. Especially if ARGs are used for promotion, that has to do with advertising and knowing journalistic tricks to attract and appeal to its clientele. I was not at all familiar with ARGs but instantly noticed how much potential it has in stratcomm. ARGs are clever ways to connect and promote to specific audiences.

  12. kevinmduvall says:

    The category I’m choosing to work on is data. Two of the past winners stood out to me most for the broad themes they represent in the field of data that could inform my work. The first is Census IRE, which is designed to simplify data from the US Census so that journalists (and others) can access and explore it more easily. Making data simpler is important for the development of using data online because it allows more people to learn how to work with data. As we’ve discussed in class, online communications are using data more and more with little sign of slowing down, so people need to know how to explore it. On a similar note, Pop Up Archive is designed to make multimedia content searchable and shareable without requiring technical expertise. Searching and sharing are essential to working with data because, quite simply, people need to be able to find data to use. Every journalist cannot compile data for every story he or she writes, so it is necessary for media outlets to get from one another. The ability to spread data easily should inform any data-related project.

    ARGs are an interesting idea. I don’t think they sound terribly fun, but some of them have given pretty cool rewards (surprise concerts and free IMAX movie tickets) to people who participated. That aside, I think they have a great deal of potential applications in strategic communication campaigns because they give fans a way to get involved with a product and get more excited about it than a more traditional campaign would. Plus, ARGs allow people to choose how involved they want to get; people can just check out the websites or they can go around doing the real-life components. Either way, fans can get more involved (to some degree) and the companies can get some publicity. The ARG style of storytelling could potentially be used for more journalistic purposes too. For example, URLs hidden on T-shirts or movie posters could link to sites with real-life news stories people could then share. For another example, instead of collecting items that contributed to promotion in the alternate reality, people could gather facts or pictures for news coverage. These examples are not exactly alternate reality because it deals with actual reality, but they show how promotional ARGs can inform the spreading of something more real.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Hooray, somebody’s doing Data! This seems like a good fit for your interests. I like your consideration of Choice when discussing ARGs – at their heart is a choice to engage with an unknown thing, which is probably why their adoption and retention rates are low. But that payoff of figuring out a mystery, or just playing a game, has some appeal too; it just needs to be balanced with the work.

  13. ryanfadus says:

    The area I have chosen to observe is the networks section. They have focused on quite a few things with past winners; ranging from focusing on one person and delving deeper into who they are to how to expand networks you already have. For the focus on the person they looked into what he did and how by using the stories he produced helped him expand his networks. He also traveled a lot so he just used what he already had and built on that to make connections to wherever he was. This is a nice simple way to do it since if you already have something in place it seems as though keeping with it is the way to go.

    The other one that stood out to me was through one winner who talked about why networks need to expand to be successful. This seems like a pretty obvious thing, but the winner went into great detail as to why. One of the keys points was that those with “highly connected nodes increased their connectivity faster than their less connected peers.” Basically, those who use networking more are able to connect faster than those who don’t. This is something I’ve been trying to do with not only this blog, but the website I write sports articles for and the site where I broadcast games. Drawing as many people to them as possible helps me create connections in my respective field and could be useful later on down the road.

    After looking through all of the ARG material I feel as though there is journalistic appeal here as well as marketability. In terms of journalism, people can use these to draw people to what they are interested in whether it is through sports games, wars games or anything. Just getting something out there and making it noticed is huge. As for the marketability, it helps people become familiar with the product you are trying to sell or push. In the case of Halo 2, most people were very familiar with it, but through ARG it helped reached the few who didn’t.

  14. frostedtsaar says:

    ARGs are kind of fascinating to me. I remember when ilovebees was making waves for Halo 2 a few years back, and I tried my hand at a few puzzles. I admit, I got slightly frustrated when I got ‘trouted’ at every turn, where it seemed everything was already solved. Though, it was a bit exciting to send emails out and get responses, and I even had a phone conversation with a “secretary” at some “defense firm.”

    I definitely think ARGs have a place in marketing. Even when I’m not participating in them, they are intriguing enough that I follow them from time to time. The new game SOMA from Frictional Games has an ARG attached to it, and though I don’t participate, I enjoy the fruits of other players’ labors. So, ARGs can definitely be used for stratcomm, and regularly are. For journalism, I’m not sure exactly what the application would be. One could perhaps create an ARG around an event in the past, something that participants can live through themselves. There’s always an audience of people willing to invest huge time and effort into solving those mysteries, and they’re going to bring in an even bigger audience.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      That frustration is a big part of why ARGs don’t tend to draw (or retain) huge participation. I suppose the converse is the payoff of succeeding against a frustrating puzzle.

      What’s your KNC topic?

      • frostedtsaar says:

        Ah, sorry, I thought we needed to email it, since the due date for that said Nov. 19. I’ll post it here, too.

        1. Mobile

        2. This choice was a no-brainer for me. I’ve always been interested in mobile as a platform, and I think most of the other categories easily fit into mobile anyway. When you first told us about this challenge, I had already chosen my proposal, and the examples shown here only make me more excited. TKOH and Digital Democracy, in that they use citizens to collect and disseminate, are the most similar to my plan.

        I don’t know if you want us to post our plans here or not, since I already sent you it. Mine is a project tentatively titled Jugyo, a language-learning tool for mobile using school students’ recording of classes.

  15. rachelwvu says:

    My chosen area of emphasis will be Networks.

    The winner that will offer the most insight for my proposal will be Peepol TV. Some key features are live streaming and interactive mapping capabilities. I liked Behavio’s model, which entails collecting visual data for people to utilize. In addition, my networking app will offer a way for users to interact with one another.

    I didn’t realize ARGs existed, but there’s a chance I’ve unknowingly clicked around on a few by accident! I think these could be used journalistically. A news organization could host a zombie apocalypse fake-news ARG to see how people might react in a real-world health crisis. A journalist could create an ARG to collect data. A blogger could create an ARG that promotes his or her name and draws people in to the blog itself. Even though some ARGs are created without an ulterior motive, a journalist would be looking for more than just a game. As long as conclusions can be drawn from it, it could be a useful tool for journalists.

    Is your name “aaaaaargh” inspired by ARGs? Just wondering!

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Ha! No, it’s inspired by having all my preferred usernames already taken when creating a WordPress account. It has 6 A’s because “Aaaaargh” (with 5 A’s) was already taken.

  16. I would like to choose the area of Health. There has not been a winner yet, so it’s hard to shape exactly my plan of action. However, I want to incorporate different media types to make it more interactive. Polls that ask questions like, “What is keeping you from exercise or eating healthier?”, “what could be provided to make a better lifestyle more accessible?” etc. I also think using GoogleMaps to provide locations for different types of gymnasiums, restaurants or health food stores would be a simple way to inform people of something they might not have thought was there.

    This form is very interesting and hard for me to wrap my head around. I’ve never particularly been into gaming, but I know many people that have. I think merging the online world with reality can be very interesting, but also dangerous and all-consuming. However, I thought ilovebees was insanely cool and funny, and it really was something different to market Halo2. When it comes down to a journalistic application, the word “interactive” is called to attention. Journalism is becoming more and more interactive between social media and online forums, thus using ARGs to have the viewers more involved makes an obvious overlap. It’s simply another way to make those who participate feel like they are personally involved and have a sway in how something happens in the business. ARGs could definitely be used in a stratcomm campaign for these simple reasons. They can easily bring people together from a global point of view, and still promote the movie or game they are trying to market, while also marketing other things. The beauty about it is that it’s free to those players.

    I feel like we can take away the fact that it is another form of interaction between participators and business. You can still make business and marketing personal and also be successful for giving people what they want for free. It also takes advertising from a whole different angle- something we as journalists are always thinking about.

    I also had no idea there were so many techniques in how to progress in the games: translating, finding different pictures, etc. I don’t know how dedicated people have time for anything else.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      What winners did you look at (since Health doesn’t yet have any)? What specifics did you draw from them in planning your own proposal?

      Regarding ARGs, you write “I don’t know how dedicated people have time for anything else.” Some of them don’t – it definitely draws some intense types. The clip from The Institute I put up is partially based on the idea of a counter-agent who realizes that the game is not a game and starts taking it too seriously … but might be right. At the heart of a good ARG is a good story, and sometimes it even seems more interesting to read about after the fact.

      • Oops- I just realized it said to not pick Health for this assignment. I didn’t look at winners, obviously, I just posted plans on what I want to do with the proposal.

  17. zvoreh says:

    I have chosen the mobile category.
    I was actually inspired by a couple of different category winners, first in the government with the app called Civic insight I felt that this app was very interesting in how it uses technology to bring information to citizens who are directly affected by areas in the community, especially in a up to date fashion. The other winner that inspired me was the Witness app that helps authenticate crowd sourced news photos, with the quality of pictures a modern smart phone is capable of I feel that more and more apps will take advantage of this.

    As for the use of ARG’s I have heard of a few elaborate campaigns
    done by some companies, but I feel that some times the intricacy of these can exclude fans. That being said there are some that succeed are the ones that promote over social media, granted this can take some mystery away from it but if the point is to promote is that such a bad thing?

    • aaaaaargh says:

      There’s definitely the potential to exclude with ARGs. It’s not like everyone feels like going out and solving puzzles about evil corporations and alien mind control and such. That, coupled with the need for considerable resources (time, money, manpower) going in can make them daunting.

  18. Without a doubt I choose Networks. I’m overwhelmingly interested in the digital web that connects us all and how we can use that to better communicate as human beings.
    I’m curious about crowdsourced or aggregation ideas. I can see lots of the other winners are doing the same things, but I don’t see one that fits smoothly into the most popular social networks. An aggregator of all mobile video is cool, but why would people check it out, and does it work on mobile?
    These ARGs are pretty interesting. I like what’s happening here, and I can’t believe I haven’t seen them before. There’s a huge opportunity here for storytelling, especially in realms where a deep, involved storyline is appreciated (cough cough science fiction.)
    As a fiction writer, I see an opportunity for a good stratcomm application. I remember when the new James Bond movie came out – there was an ARG where you communicated with an agent via a web-based text “commlink.” I can’t find it anymore, which is frustrating. Still, if I was a writer, I’d have tons of ARGs – they make people feel involved and invested, which makes them care more about your work.
    As a journalist, however, I struggle to see the truth-telling application of an ARG. Unless you made some kind of app that created complete immersion in a historical situation, I don’t see how it could advance real storytelling, and I’m not even sure if my ideas about that are technologically feasible. Think about a desktop application that gave you a Google-Streetview-esque ability to navigate through a riot in Cairo’s Tahrir Square while playing immersive, real recorded audio. Maybe if there are individuals there you can identify, they can become parts of the story as the reader moves near them.
    I’m not even sure if that counts as an ARG. I feel like the name itself – alternate reality – makes it hard to think about applying it to journalism. Maybe we should call journalism-based ARGs “IRGs:” Immersive Reality Games. After all, they’d be based on true events.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      I think your example DOES count as an ARG. Think about it – you might structure one around Gettysburg involving time travel, with “soft places” throughout the city where you could interact with the past via audio, hidden artifacts, and so on. Meanwhile, people are learning and engaging in a way they wouldn’t with a guided tour. Applying it to a hotspot like Tahrir Square would certainly be more dicey, but you can see how that might work.

      Any specific winners to note in your Knight Challenge readings?

  19. dkrotz says:

    I have chosen the mobile category.
    Looking through the past winners, I was really interested to see all of the different ways people have proposed to harness the abilities of a mobile device. With so many people around the world having mobile devices and so many apps available to those people, I believe that a mobile-driven proposal can be very relevant to so many people around the world and can definitely be helpful.

    In terms of the ARGs, I had never really heard of them or had any experience with them before reading these articles. It almost seems somewhat like a scavenger hunt for clues across the internet (and even in your mailbox, apparently) but it involves real people interacting as a result. I think there could potentially be some sort of journalistic use for this, but it would have to be a well thought out, elaborate plan. I know that several celebrities (Shaq is the one who comes to mind) would do something similar in the past with tweeting. He would tweet a picture of himself somewhere in a city, and his followers would have to find where he was. Although nowhere near as elaborate as these ARGs, and not involving the internet, the user participation is something that everyone is easily drawn in to.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Scavenger hunt is a good way to describe an ARG; they’re a bit like our early Twitter activity, only with a fictional overlay. Regarding the mobile category, which specific winners can you provide some more detailed response to?

  20. acampb22 says:

    I have chosen the Mobile category for the Knight News Challenge. I found the winners of this category to have really interesting and inspiring ideas. These winners have really innovative ideas when it comes to sharing data and other information on a mobile level. I found the most interesting winner to be WITNESS, a mobile app that allows news, video, photos to be shared with who, what, where, and other important information attached making it credible and reliable information. I find this especially interesting in light of the role that citizen journalism and social media played in Egypt and other countries during Arab Spring and other rebellions. Many journalists took to Twitter to report these events with videos and photos taken by citizens and other reporters in the midst of the conflict. this idea for an app could really change how people all over the world share important information. This idea specifically can help me in my project by creating an idea that is both accessible and innovative for the journalism industry.

    Although I have heard of ARG’s before I am still pretty unfamiliar with them. I see them more as entertainment for the niche group they appeal to rather than for journalistic value. However, I think ARG can be valuable for marketing and advertising, but this is limited to marketing and advertising for other games and products that would only appeal to this group of people. It seems that almost all technology has found a way to incorporate advertising to it’s audience these days. Because ARG’s are virtual I don’t see how they could be used as a news outlet or for anything that relates to current news and events in reality.

  21. karleapack says:

    This was a tough decision for me! The data category caught my attention and really seemed like a solid way to go, but then I looked at the mobile winners and finally decided on the mobile category.
    All of these project winners’ ideas were astonishing to me and inspired me to feel a bit better about my ideas. I’m not a very innovative person, so this assignment actually scared me a bit, but after reading through all of them I feel a lot better. They simply took tools that are already readily available to us, and just made it more simple to get information from these different tools, and even unified them into one application. Textizen was my favorite idea out of the winners because it was simple, but it mattered. I thought their ideas to place it at a bus stop and other locations alike was very smart, seeing as how waiting on a bus can get rather boring. So why not get out your phone and tell your opinion on a topic instead of having to attend a neighborhood meeting? Particularly, taking a poll on something that affects you? Such a good idea in my opinion.
    I was honestly freaked out by a few of these ARGs provided by you, especially the 5 Most Insane. It just seems scary to me, maybe because I just don’t understand it? Anyway, from a journalistic standpoint I do think that ARGs could be used because they are so interactive and can easily keep a person’s attention. Though, I’m not sure if from a journalistic standpoint that you could make them so intricate because some people, like me, may not understand it or even have time to run all over the place and find the clues or what have you. I do think that these ARGs could be used rather well for promotion and certain articles in say, a city journal or something and definitely in a campaign. Campaign’s can be boring at times, so including an ARG could easily spice it up. Even though I’m still pretty confused on this, I think it’s a cool way to get people involved while still promoting/marketing something.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      I’m very interested in your perspective on ARGs from a PR perspective. They’ve frequently been used for marketing, so this is close to your area of experience.

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