Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Giving news 'games' another chance

More and more, I seem to come back to the question of whether the news can be made into a game that makes it more appealing -- à la that old "Mary Poppins" song about a spoonful of sugar.

Today, the Nieman Journalism Lab posted a feature on "Future-Jobs-O-Matic," a project of "Marketplace," American Public Media's business program, that makes U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers fun to play with.

Specifically, Jobs-O-Matic takes data from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, which lays out prospects for individual job titles over the next decade, and presents them interactively. Reading the BLS handbook: kind of dry. Clicking specific professions at Job-O-Matic: pretty cool.

Of course your first inclination is to find out what the outlook is for your own job. For me, it looked like this: not too bad, since the expectation is for an 8 percent increase in jobs in the author/writer/ editor category over the decade ending in 2018. The caveats, though, were that the growth will primarily be online and jobs for editors might even fall slightly.

But that picture was a bit better than the one offered for reporters: a 6 percent decline in jobs. "Competition will be tight," according to the outlook. Ugh.

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