Al Jazeera's ground-breaking gamification of current affairs, set in Sierra Leone

For World Maritime Day today, 25 September 2014, Al Jazeera has launched a ground-breaking interactive web game based 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 while 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 game is based on a two-part documentary by journalist Juliana Ruhfus, Pirate Fishing, for the Al Jazeera series People & Power. Pirate Fishing was nominated for the Royal Television Society Awards.

Victor Kargbo, the fisheries officer and boarding team leader at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Sierra Leone, received a Seafood Champions Award from the International Seafood Summit in 2012 for the work showcased in both the game and the documentary.

"We're basically gamifying current affairs," says Juliana. "Investigative journalism can be seen as quite high-brow, whereas 'gamification' can open it up for a new generation of digital-savvy journalists. It's important for us to push the boundaries and explore new ways to reach audiences."

The game 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," says Juliana.

Test your skills as an investigative journalist at www.aljazeera.com/piratefishing.

Watch and embed part one of the original Pirate Fishing documentary below and part two at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcXCvY6hnEE, or read more at http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2012/01/2012125543115....

Kevin Kriedemann
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