Research & Publications

I have published articles, book chapters and monographs on different topics of my interest. The full list of my publications can be found here (last update: june, 2022).

Here I briefly present some recent articles and their highlights.

Gómez-García, S., & de la Hera Conde-Pumpido, T. (2022). Newsgames: The Use of Digital Games by Mass-Media Outlets to Convey Journalistic Messages. Games and Culture.

This study examines how mass media use digital games to convey journalistic messages. Newsgames have been defined by several scholars at the intersection of digital journalism and game studies. However, due to the heterogeneity of this phenomenon, there is still confusion about what can and cannot be considered a newsgame. This study aims to shed light on this issue from a bottom-up perspective in order to provide an answer to the following research question: How are journalistic messages structured in newsgames published by online mass media? A grounded theory approach is used to analyze 75 games published in a total of 47 digital mass media from 17 countries.

This approach allows to highlight the specificities of newsgames in the field of digital journalism and led to propose a more systematic identification and analysis approach for newsgames from the perspective of genre. The analytical approach proposed for this study comprends an inclusive but also systematic way to identify and classify newsgames. The main contribution of this study is therefore approaching the understanding of newsgames not as an independent journalistic genre that needs to be defined and limited, but as a type of journalistic content comparable to, for example, a video or an audio content or an infographic. So, we provide insight into this approach and how newsgames can be categorised using this taxonomy, including examples from media outlets to illustrate it.

Gómez-García, S., Paz-Rebollo, M., & Cabeza-San-Deogracias, J. (2021). Newsgames against hate speech in the refugee crisis. [Newsgames frente a los discursos del odio en la crisis de los refugiados]. Comunicar, 67.

You can read this work in English or Spanish. In this paper, we analyze how digital media tried to offer a different approach about the refugee crisis. We concluded the use of newsgames as a journalistic genre with data that didn´t appear in isolation, but integrated into the gaming experience. The study concludes by identifying the interaction between the levels of information and immersion of the newsgames that make up the sample, as well as their different gradation: giving the player the opportunity to make more significant decisions within the story allows for the introduction of nuances that promote empathy towards refugees

Gómez-García, S., & Carrillo-Vera, J.A. (2020). El discurso de los newsgames frente a las noticias falsas y la desinformación: cultura mediática y alfabetización digital. Revista Prisma Social, 30, pp. 22-46.

The report Top Strategic Predictions for 2018 and beyond by the consultancy firm Gartner estimates that we will consume more fake news in 2022 than real news due to the impossibility of stopping its propagation. This research reviews the formulas that have been developed to mitigate its effects and advocates the use of active strategies that enhance the digital and information literacy of citizens. From there, this research analyses the simulation potential offered by newsgames (digital games with an informative purpose) to combat the phenomenon of disinformation and fake news through the development of skills and competences.

The sample comprised the online games Bad News (DROG, 2017), Fake it to make it (Amanda Warner, 2017), iReporter(BBC, 2018) and Factitious (Augame Studio, 2017-20). All of them had been developed by media, universities or research institutes. The analysis took into account the narrative, informative, playful and interactive features of each of the games. The results synthesise some of the most interesting features of these formulas and also outline their potential in formal educational contexts.

The controversy – reflected by the creator of Fake it to make it, Amanda Warner – that these games generate, underlines their capacity to make people reflect on the phenomenon of fake news and disinformation:

"I am aware that there is a difference between information and inspiration. It is possible that this game could inspire someone to create fake news, but I am willing to take the risk because I think the potential for positive change for players is worth it"

This statement allows us to reflect on the potential of digital games in certain information contexts and, furthermore, how their active proposals to increase information literacy in citizens could constitute the best firewall against a phenomenon inherent to communication from educommunication.

Gómez-García, S., Gil-Torres, A., Carrillo-Vera, J., & Navarro-Sierra, N. (2019). Constructing Donald Trump: Mobile apps in the political discourse about the President of the United States. Comunicar, 59, 49-59.

This paper started in a previous research about a political figure in Spain (Luis Bárcenas, the former treasure of Partido Popular in Spain) and his relevance in mobile ecosystem during 2013). Several years later, I tried to go further developing a more ambitious research. The paper explores the creation and content of apps about Donald Trump (n=412) published in Google Play between June 2015 and January 2018.

The relevance of the study stems from both its objectives and its methodology. On the one hand, the aim was to characterise the profile, motivations and purposes of the developers of Donald Trump apps; and on the other, to identify the main features of the discourses in the most downloaded apps. The study relied on two resources: a qualitative questionnaire of open questions for developers (n=376), and a quantitative analysis of the content of apps that exceeded 5,000 downloads (n=117). The questionnaire identified the influence of political current affairs in the developers’ ideological and economic motivations, while the content analysis revealed the trends found over time, as well as the themes, discourses and ideological positioning of the most popular apps about Donald Trump. The findings provide an empirical basis for how the content of these apps was articulated with the news; the influence of content that went viral; hegemonic discourses; and the role played by developers of new expressive, commercial, informative and persuasive proposals in the intersection between mobile apps and political campaigns.