Friday, February 27, 2009

The Living Newspaper, 21st century

One of the early sociodramatic structures created by Dr. J.L. Moreno, the physician who developed the action method of psychodrama, was what he called "The Living Newspaper." Participants in Dr. Moreno's groups in Vienna, Austria, would peruse a copy of the day's newspaper, select articles that were of interest and then improvise the scenes of the story, as biographer Rene Marineau tells here. Later, Dr. Moreno enacted significant events with larger groups at professional conferences, including such issues as the 1948 race riots in Harlem, the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961 and the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963.

Now two news-loving entrepreneurs have created gaming platforms that focus on role-playing discussions with world leaders about significant issues and other interactive news events. Using audio, video and interactivity, Eric Brown and Asi Burak have created more than 100 games on "Play the News." The games are designed to help people understand complex topics that range from the U.S. election, auto mergers, big oil in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Poynter Institute reports here.