This paper is the product of 12 months of intensive study applying game design to the challenges of journalism and news community management. After conducting interviews and site visits with a wide variety of leaders in major print, web, television and news organizations, primary observations were made. The goal was to understand how the increasingly challenged news media industry could benefit from the knowledge that has sustained the success of the game industry. Our findings indicate that the formal practice of game design offers three key foci that may likely prove useful to industries and practices concerned with improving their audience engagement strategies. These three foci are experience, agency and play. We suggest that these three elements are the key to engagement in non-game contexts and are a likely path to improving the struggles facing not only the news industry, but other domains like activism, social impact, and civic participation.