Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pirates, yellowcake, and the press at Patterson

Rob Farley has a post up about the recent crisis game at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. He links to the in-game press reports about the action, which give a pretty good idea of how things worked (posts are listed in blog-style reverse chronological order, so start at the bottom of the page). What's most interesting to me about this setup is that they brought in journalism students to play the world media and produce their press reports within the game, interviewing the participants as things moved along. It's an interesting concept. The media are frequently represented in this sort of exercise, but in the examples I've seen (particularly Simulex at the Fletcher School, which I will have to describe in more detail sometime), the "media" is a tool of the control team, used for distributing information (and disinformation) about developments in the scenario to the participants, rarely if ever producing reporting ON the participants. Bringing in journalism students to do so seems like a great way to kill two birds with one stone. The other participants get a taste of operating in a global media environment, while the journalists have an international crisis staged for them to practice reporting on. And as a bonus, it resulted in an easily readable account of the weekend. This is not something that would work for every crisis game, perhaps not even many of them, but it's a nice feature for this one.

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