‘Reality is Broken’ author speaks on using games to solve problems

Jane McGonigal, game designer and author of the New York Times bestselling book Reality is Broken, will present Marquette University’s Burleigh Media Ethics Lecture on “Why Games Make Us Better and How they Can Change the World.” The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m., Oct. 26, in the Weasler Auditorium, 1506 W. Wisconsin Ave.

“I am fascinated by Jane Mc- Gonigal and her idea to use games to bring about positive social change,” said J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication Dean Lori Bergen. “McGonigal is an innovator and entrepreneur with a message that will resonate with Marquette students who champion social innovation in their own lives.”

McGonigal, who earned a doctorate from the University of California-Berkeley, will discuss how the principles behind gaming can be applied to solving social and economic issues. She currently serves as creative director for Social Chocolate as well as director of games research and development at the Institute for the Future, a non-profit research group in Palo Alto, Calif. She specializes in games that challenge players to collaborate to tackle real-world problems, such as poverty, hunger and climate change.

McGonigal has created award-winning games in more than 30 countries on six continents, for partners that include the American Heart Association, the International Olympics Committee, the World Bank Institute, and the New York Public Library. Her games have been featured in The New York Times, Wired, The Economist and on MTV, CNN and NPR. She’s been named one of the “top 100 creative people in business” by Fast Company magazine, O magazine called her one of the “20 most inspiring women in the world,” Business Week named her a “top ten innovator to watch,” and Harvard Business Review included her in the “top 20 breakthrough ideas of the year.”

The Burleigh Media Ethics Lecture is sponsored by the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication and honors William R. Burleigh. A 1957 Marquette journalism graduate, Burleigh started working for the Evansville, Ind., Press at age 14 as a sports reporter and retired in 2000 as president and CEO of the E.W. Scripps Company, having led the transformation of Scripps from primarily a newspaper enterprise into a media company with interests in cable and broadcast television, newspaper publishing, e-commerce, interactive media, licensing and syndication. Burleigh lectures address ethical issues today’s communicators report on, as well as those they wrestle with in their own work.