Gamify the News | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS

Welcome back to the show. Before the Flint Water Crisis
became a national outrage, it was a local news story. So were Bridgegate and the West
Virginia Opioid Crisis, not to mention zombie turtle kid. I like turtles. I like turtles. Yeah, we know. Local newspapers
deserve some love, so I went all the way to
New Jersey to adopt one. Big newspapers, like the failing
New York Times are not failing. Subscriptions have
increased since Donald Trump was elected president. But how are local
newspapers faring? One out of three journalists
have lost their jobs at American newspapers. There are also places in
this country where really there is no local journalism. And that is a terribly
scary thing, because that’s where democracy lives. SAMANTHA BEE: To find out
how bad it’s actually getting for local news, I
went to New Jersey and sat down with Charlie
Kratovil, the strikingly youthful founder
of New Brunswick’s only local newspaper,
the New Brunswick today. How much of the paper
do you personally write? In any given print
issue, I’ve probably written between 30% or 50%
of the articles in there. Stop the presses.
Half the paper? I do a lot of work. I work very hard
on this project. Is it weird to be a baby
working in a dying medium? It’s not easy. Must be hard keeping up on
the local news in a small town like New Brunswick. “Paint Still Drying!”,
“Man Finds Hat in Tree.” What you got, Charlie? The water director
committed suicide because he found out
he was potentially under a federal investigation. We’re starting with a suicide. Oh– OK. The city never appointed
a qualified water director to replace him for the
next 5 and 1/2 years. Oh, my god. And eventually,
a man did plead guilty to public corruption
for covering up problems with the drinking water. Charlie Kratovil out there
doing old timey reporting, see? Out there with his cute
little local newspaper, find out that all the
people have been poisoned. And this is why local
newspapers are so important. Without old timey reporting
like Charlie’s, people in New Brunswick
would have no idea that their water was poisoned,
which is why everyone in town is a paying subscriber, right? No. Actually, we only have, right
now, less than 100 people subscribe to the paper. What? How much do your
subscriptions cost? It’s just $5 a month. $5 a month? $5 a month. Have you thought about
ways to incentivize buying subscription to your paper? We’re open to it. SHOW HOST: But since
Charlie is too busy being Erin Brockovich to
figure out how to sell papers, I figured I’d do it for him. So I sat down with
Gabe Zichermann, a TED talk dweeb, an
expert on something called “gamification.” People know what
they should do, but they sometimes need a nudge
on how to get between what they say they want
to do and what they actually should be doing. How do you do that? One of the easiest ways
is hedonism and pleasure. People will always choose
the most pleasurable option between a set of given choices. Hedonism. And hedonism isn’t just
my favorite clothing optional resort. It’s a way of life. We’ve gamified our
walking, credit card use, coffee buying, and
now even our civic engagement. Gamification is an opportunity
to take something like voting or something like participating
in other civic activities and make it fun
and engaging enough that people may want to do it. But isn’t hard
work it’s own reward? Sure. SAMANTHA BEE: But it was the
chance at a real reward that got a California school
board election a 46% increase in voter turnout. All it took was a game
with a catchy name, like– “Pokemon Go to the Polls.” SAMANTHA BEE: Ugh,
help us out here, Gabe. Basically, the idea is if you
vote, instead of just getting a little sticker
that says “I voted,” you actually get a scratch
off lottery ticket. Oh, my god, we’re
all so vulnerable. We all just want a
god star, don’t we? Absolutely. SAMANTHA BEE: Which
explains why people will even play boring french fry
based games like this and this. Foldit was designed to
help scientists figure out a complicated protein
structure that had stumped them for 15 years. And guess what happened? 49,000 people playing
Fold it in 10 days unlocked the protein
structure, which is important for developing
new drugs to combat HIV. What I’m hearing from you
is that people love games. Oh, people love games. They love playing games. They love watching games. SAMANTHA BEE: Wait a minute. People will pay more
attention to this interview if I gamify it? Hi, everyone, I’m Samantha Bee. Welcome to the “Legally
Distinct Pyramid.” Here on the show with us
today we have Gabe Zichermann. Hi, Gabe.
– Hi. Let’s play the game. All right. First clue on the pyramid– the laziest birthday gifts? – What are pajamas?
– No. I don’t love you.
I bought you this. – Uh, lottery tickets.
– Yes. Magic eight ball for
how to be the only woman in comedy questions? Uh– Fitbit for diabetics? Ways gamification
can be used for good? Yes. Pokemon Go for Muslims! Pokemon Go for immigrants! What are court games
for the government? Corporate retreats! Games that are
bad for society. Can we get a ruling on that? We don’t actually
have a prize for you. Oh. Folks, that’s all the time
we have for today’s show. Don’t forget to keep your
pets spayed or neutered. See you next time. Having been convinced that
gamification totally works, I found myself wondering how
it could help the New Brunswick Today’s entire staff, Charlie. Right now, less than 100
people subscribe to the paper. If you vote, you actually get
a scratch off lottery ticket. Hedonism. Could hedonism save
Charlie’s paper? I needed to know. Would people be more
inclined to spend money if I turned
his subscriptions into lottery tickets? I asked my non-millennial
correspondents to help out, so they hit the freezing
streets of New Brunswick. You get a year-long
subscription, and then you also have a chance of winning $500. You want a ticket? All right. SAMANTHA BEE: And my
youngest correspondent took a more modern approach,
while enjoying a beer. Holy newsies, it’s working! Turning subscriptions
into lotto tickets did make people more
likely to subscribe. Since the switch, the
New Brunswick Today has increased its
subscription base by 400%, and that number is still rising. A lot of people didn’t
expect us to last this long. A lot of people thought we
would be out of business by now. But we’ve been able to survive. SAMANTHA BEE: Maybe
with a little luck, a sprinkle of civic engagement,
and a healthy dose of hedonism, local journalism will survive. Thank you so much! If you want to enter
a sweet, sweet raffle, go to the web site
on your screen. Everyone wins a prize, even
if that prize is just knowing what’s in your drinking water. We’ll be right back.

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100 thoughts on “Gamify the News | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS

  1. Good job Samantha and big props to Charlie K who's been fighting the good fight for New Brunswick for many years. What they used to call a muckraker keep it up!

  2. I want to know how many kids are applying to journalism-educations/-schools after Trumps win…. if there is any hope for america the applications will have gone waaaaaaaaaay up!

  3. Please look up the Youtube channel Extra Credits, they covered this topic before with education and possible other feilds, along with the dangers like the seamsame credit system in China.

  4. I wonder how much the increase came from the subscription raffle, and how much came from TV exposure. Hope Sam does a follow-up, a month from now, or even just a passing mention. I suspect it will have hit 1000% up on the subscriber numbers. A vibrant, local level of journalism IS necessary for a healthy democracy.

  5. And as evidenced by the fact that I'm watching this on Youtube, some of us don't even have the disposable income to subscribe to gamified newspapers. I think maybe some people aren't subject to gamification at all, because I don't have a Fitbit (costs $$$ and makes me exercise), I don't play the lottery (I know I'm gonna lose, so waste of $$$), and I don't even have a cable TV subscription let alone a newspaper subscription. I've heard of apps to gamify housework which I don't care about. "You get points for completing chores which you can use for" yeah I stopped listening. I don't care about imaginary points any more than I care about the chore itself. My hedonism is just being on the internet and all the hedonism in the world can't get me to spend money I don't have.

  6. In case you wanted to be scared sh*tless:

    The Chinese government is trying to gamify being a "good, loyal" citizen. No, this isn't some crazy Alex Jones type conspiracy. Don't believe me? Google "The Economist gamify China citizen" where The Economist goes into more detail about this. Less tickets, less negative posts on social media about the government, more shares/retweets of positive posts about the government means that you get a higher "citizen score". Rewards for having a high citizen score includes access to better housing,, cutting lines when it comes to bureaucratic procedures (building permits, marriage licenses, etc). Again, 100% real.

  7. Why not Jane McGonigal, who wrote the book on gamification and did a TED talk on it? Oh right, who wants to listen to a woman talk anyway? :->

  8. We have the Telecommunications Act to thank for the complete dismantling the news industry. Our news has been turned into multi-media industry…and deleted any real reporting! Thanks to Bill Clinton deregulating the industry…the best republican the democrats ever put into office!

  9. I used to be a local reporter in New Jersey but was laid off. I wrote about 7 stories a week and took photographs of events, parades, meetings human interest, political activities, schools and other happenings of the town.

  10. "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun annnnd snap! The job's a game!"
    Mary Poppins knew what was up.

  11. As much as I know that gameifying voting would make more progressives come to the polls, it's not the right thing to do. I'm all about making voting easier and more convenient like holding elections on weekends and mail ballots for every voter. People should be able to vote without much difficulty in their lives, and all elections should be advertised so people know they are happening without having to hunt down information. I don't think there should be any kind of reward for voting, or anything to make it 'fun'. Voting is boring. If someone doesn't care enough about their values to vote about them, assuming they aren't hindered from voting in some way, then their voice doesn't get heard. Decisions are made by people who show up.

  12. So basically, Sam B. is a super heroine, bringing gamification to the rescue of local journalism just in time, before it splatted on the sidewalk outside America's giant obselete office. Im down wit that.

  13. GREAT topic, but gamification is an implausible solution. Why not help with the SOLUTIONS to the PROBLEMS the journalists are telling us about? Am I the only person who is sick to death of problems without solutions?

    Ask me about the charity share brokerage. Go ahead. I dare you.

  14. We get a newspaper delivered for free in our town (only 2 square miles). It's really nice to know about local events, but it doesn't really do the kind of hard journalism that I'd be looking for usually. There is another one you can pay for, but it's not much different. We used to have a local news site that did some really good journalism, but they got bought up by a big company and now only produce click bait.

  15. Facts are people don't want to read when mediums like YouTube are much more engaging. News should really go into the direction of media based reporting… you know like this show

  16. That's why satire has adapted forms like fake news shows or parodies. Talk about serious issues affecting people's lives in entertaining ways, so people start paying attention to it. Raising awareness through comedy and games. If you make it fun, people will engage. Sad, but true.

  17. That's what I think about psychiatric drugs. Psychotics would take their antipsychotics if it felt awesome.

  18. Thank you young man. It's awesome to see someone do real reporting about local events. Please never tweet your news.

  19. What do you think Sam Bee would be ranting against if Hillary had won the election? I think her over the top support for a deeply disliked candidate was on purpose. What could she possible have said about Hillary´s possible ramping up of a war against russia after having so blatantly lied to the American people about Hillary´s many flaws? I guess we´ll never know. Good work Sam Bee.

  20. So if I'm understanding this correctly, turning aspects of civilian life into hedonistic gaming opportunities might solve many of the problems we face today?

  21. What a weird message to end on. Why should I have to mutilate my pet because other irresponsible owners don't watch their theirs?

  22. How about we game POTUS? Like the mainstream media headlines how great Trump is then the next week he gets impeached! HOW FUN!!!

  23. As a retired loooooong-time journalist in Anderson, Indiana, I must commend Charlie for the outstanding job he has done for the New Brunswick paper. Hang in there, buddy! Old guys like me can certainly respect the young guys like you for doing what needs to be done as a journalist. And hats off to Sam Bee for making all of us aware of this and promoting the NBT. Love your show! — Rick

  24. That's a cool comedy style, picked up from Stewart. They don't acknowledge the silly pictures relative to their issues and they completely depend on the audience to get it without explaining it. Some people were late on the Mitch joke.

  25. Great Job Sam.Thank You for what you do.Can you Run For President ?… Please We Need One Really Really Really Bad.Our Donald Duck is Running Around The Whithouse Looking for The Front Door .We Know That's Obama's Fault He Didn't Leave An Exit Sign Sticker To Let The Duck Know Where To Exit & How

  26. Jon Stewart did several things to help people, shaming Congress into providing care for the first responders being one of them. Colbert tends to do things for himself, …., never mind that one. And Sam Bee did this wonderful act.
    My question is where did O'Reilly help? I don't think Dr. Tiller qualifies. Or Hannity? Or Levin, Beck, etc?
    Just sayin, I'm proud to be a liberal.

  27. I'm such a dope. I read the title "Gamify The News" and I thought they were going to discuss Fox News hiring women with "nice gams". The real story shown was much better!

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