You didn't get an asylum, what next - a journalistic game

You didn't get an asylum, what next - a journalistic game

Organisation: Yle (Finnish Broadcasting company) (Finland)

Publication Date: 04/07/2017


Size of team/newsroom:large


The story is a game like implementation which demonstrates all those choices and fates that the rejected asylum seeker can face. The method brings the subject closer to the reader than a regular news story. The reader is placed into the role of an asylum seeker and has to choose between the same choices that asylum seekers have when they are given a negative asylum decision. In the beginning reader chooses whether he/she would try to stay in Finland or return to Iraq after negative asylum decision. There are four different endings where the reader could end up. The presented situations in the story are based on actual data and information that was was acquired from multiple sources. The story demanded great investigation. It was not known what rights asylum seekers have, in what kind of conditions they live, or what the police does when they come across with the paperless, who in the other hand can’t be returned involuntarily to their homeland. This had to be find out, much of it with expert interviews and statistics. The data sources of the story were Finnish Immigration Service, International Organization of Migration, Helsinki Police Department, City of Helsinki, The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of the Interior, researcher Mervi Leppäkorpi, National Police Board, Finnish Refugee Council, Global Clinic, UNHCR and Iraqi refugees.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Autumn of 2015 was a historical moment in Nordic countries. Tens of thousands of asylum seekers started to travel here. One year on, the countries are making decisions - who gets to stay and who doesn’t. We thought that game-like implementation could be suited for a story this complex where there are multiple endings and possibilities. In this story we present the reader with the same choices as in real life. If you don't get an asylum, you have two choices: appeal or return voluntarily. The main character is a young man from Iraq (that was the most discussed group of asylum seekers in Finland). Finland also changed the country evaluation of safety in Iraq so many more Iraqi people were refused entry than before. The process of making this game resulted in actual news. The authorities in Finland didn't know what to do with the so called “illegal immigrants” who stay in the country. Are they allowed social services or not? This caused a big public debate in Finland that still rages on. The story was praised for being a new way of telling stories. Some of the readers reacted strongly to the topic, but it also got positive feedback and put readers to think about the situation of asylum seekers. From those who started the game, over 60 percent proceeded to some of the four endings. In a hectic world it demanded concentration from the reader and in general it tells that the story found its targeted audience.

Technologies used for this project:

Twinery / Twine Snowman & typeit.js, html5
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