Terra Incognita: Seeking Journalists and Civic Actors to Pilot our News Game | MIT Center for Civic Media

Calling all journalists, news innovators and civic actors! Terra Incognita is a news geography game and news recommendation system. Help us test Terra Incognita in its alpha stages.

At the Center for Civic Media we are conducting research around ways to engage people in news about diverse global geographies. Just as our habits in physical space show that we tend to follow the same spatial pathways on our commutes between work and home, we also form habits around reading and experiencing information. Typical recommendation systems try to match you based on criteria of similarity - i.e. with things that you already know and know you will like. But how can we stage encounters with more diverse information, cultures and people? How can we subtly disrupt our habits in the service of serendipity? Sometimes all you need is a fun reason to vary your everyday routine.

Enter Terra Incognita - a news geography game and news recommendation system. Terra Incognita is (will be, since I'm currently in the process of coding it) a game designed to help you explore news stories from around the world. In its alpha version it is a Google Chrome browser extension that monitors the news stories that you read (just news stories, it doesn't monitor your email or other personal information), maps them, and recommends you stories for places you haven't read about. As you proceed through the levels, it gets progressively harder to be informed about "the whole world".

Interested? Sign up here. We are seeking early reviewers to pilot the system and give us feedback. We are especially interested in recruiting journalists, news innovators and civic actors interested in engaging citizens in global news. 

Questions? Get in touch. This is the Masters thesis research of Catherine D'Ignazio (dignazio@mit.edu) overseen by Ethan Zuckerman.