Wrong End of the Firehose
One of my little pet theories about something broken in news is the firehose. Once upon a time, newspapers pushed information out. Libraries collected it and organized it on microfiche so you could go look up an issue and find coverage of it. That turns out to be a bit oversimplified, but it’s about right. Definitely, a person used to have to go to the microfiche to read old news stories. Libraries are good at organizing information, especially archival information. Fast forward from the mythical “back when” to today and newspapers are doing it themselves but they haven’t stopped to figure out how people find content. Today, if I want to know what some paper is reporting, I go to the paper’s own website. And usually, they do a poor job of telling me.
What newspapers do a lot is they put a little box on an evolving story with links to past coverage. But they rarely go back and update those boxes looking forward. I think this is because they’re all using broken CMSs, which stinks. [I’m totally rambling here. Sorry.]
I’m teaching a class on news games this semester, just a little 5 week module. We already made bingo cards and a quiz. Next week I want to play with some Choose Your Own Adventure frameworks. Mother Jones has one and then there’s Twine, which I have heard good things about.
So that’s context. I wanted to put together a round up of choose your own adventure games in the news including this not-especially-fun court decider from 2012. And since the game is more than a year old I thought I ought to put it in context. I have a bad habit of pulling up examples of cool widgets in class and realizing I have to bluff my way through what the thing is trying to convey because I don’t have that in my notes and I don’t remember why I liked this thing. So I’m trying to do better. So I start my note. “In the summer of 2012 the Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act…” and then I realized I don’t actually know how they ruled. I’m pretty sure they found the whole heap totally legit, but maybe the rejected a provision? Off the top of my head, I don’t actually know. So I look over at the related article (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/us/politics/parties-strategize-for-dealing-with-supreme-court-decision-on-health-care.html) which is of course also from early June, before the ruling. So it doesn’t say. But it does include a link to their topic page on the Affordable Care Act (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/s/supreme_court/affordable_care_act/index.html) which isn’t there. So if I want to know how that story turned out, I’m up a creek. Or I can Duck it. But that’s absurd. This is a story they were following closely enough to make games about it and there’s no way for me to get to recent coverage?
I know, I’m rambling. But it bothers me that newspaper websites make it so hard to find updates.