Originally Posted by aegies
This ... this is kind of disingenuous. GAF is hostile to press. Or at least, a very, very, very, very vocal contingent of GAF is hostile to the press. Asking a group of people that GAF regularly shits on and makes personal attacks against to talk to GAF members as normal human beings is actually asking kind of a lot. You might not have said anything negative, ever. Most of the posters here haven't. But there's a contingent that sets GAF's tone as perceived by the outside, and that tone is, like I said, hostile.
You acknowledge that there's a tense relationship, but I don't see anyone at GAF that's particularly influential or with the ability to guide conversation making an effort on this end to make any sort of peace. Even those of us who are posters here suffer some pretty hateful personal shit at the hands of other members, but it's totally fine, because, you know, whatever. We're press. So we deserve to be called giant pieces of shit. Meanwhile, if we were to come here and point out when we are absolutely positive that someone is a PR plant or a schill for a game, we'd get banned.
That kind of behavior, which I've watched get more hysterical over the last five years, has made GAF a thing that most press avoid, and tell other members of the press to avoid, instead of engaging with the forum the way they used to. I don't think I should automatically have your respect because I get paid to write about games, but some decency from people here as a human being would be a good start. And I don't see that very often.
The funny thing is, with regards to this thread topic, I'm in the same camp as GAF. I think the shit that went down was gross, and that a great deal of the ass-covering is shameful.
Covering this story for most outlets is writing about the competition, which is a really difficult thing to navigate. Are you being too negative? Is it because it's to your competitive advantage to make another site look bad? Can you be a trustworthy source on another site? What if your report is wrong? Like, completely, 100 percent wrong? What are we actually exposing? This isn't dateline. We're not taking down a major corporation that's dumping chemicals into the river.
Going negative about other sites is toxic, and most readers don't like that kind of content. It's lose lose. None of which stopped me from going on an extended twitter tirade about it, which I still don't know if I should have done, because it's more complicated than "write the story idiot."
I appreciate this post and I sympathize with you. I think just in general the public is hostile to the press and if you are a journalist you pretty much get shit on day in and day out. It's one rung below being a lawyer when it comes to being treated as a human being. Say what you will about that Kotaku guy, but he at least he had the balls to post in this thread and express his opinion, yet every time Kotaku is mentioned on GAF it's accompanied by that .jpg and 10 posts about "Kotaku is shit". I realize that it's very easy for journalists to become jaded about public criticism, but sometimes criticism is warranted. When it devolves into personal attacks is when stuff gets ugly.
However - again I respect you as a person and I realize journalists are just people and it's a tough job - I think where the disconnect is that, just honestly speaking, there is some shit that journalists in the gaming press could be more transparent about.
PLEASE READ THIS PART:
You don't even have to go negative about another site because like you said what if you are 100 percent wrong? A story about this mess doesn't even have to focus on Eurogamer, Florence or Wainwright. What you can do on your end is address stuff, which you already have in this thread, about things like press junkets and press kits on your site. I'm just generalizing, but if you get sent a swank, crazy expensive press kit don't put up an "unboxing" blog post about how cool this press kit is. I'm not saying that you have, but I have seen gaming media outlets do this. The story should be that publisher A is sending crazy expensive press kits to media outlets. The story shouldn't be "Wow, look at this cool shit!" It should be about how many of these press kits were sent out. It should be something that publishers are made to feel ashamed of for and derided for. I'm just speaking candidly, but how is this even accepted practice in this day and age? In what other profession involving journalism would this not be considered shady as shit? The whole hashtag for a free PS3 should be front and center news on any game site.
Secondly, you guys have enough collective power to reign in the bullshit from PR. If you get punished for not playing ball or blacklisted, the competing site shouldn't look at it as a chance to gain a competitive advantage. You guys should stick together and expose these abuses. You have the power to do this. You really do have the power to just say "no" and expose some of this shit. If you have to be flown out to Hawaii for a press junket and it's a waste of time, report that it's a waste of time.
I think people would respect you guys more if you called out PR for a lot of the bullshit instead of looking at is as if I don't play ball someone else will. Let the dude who writes a glowing preview because he was flown out to Hawaii look like a corporate shill. The story should be X number of gaming journalists were flown to Hawaii Monday for an exclusive preview of Y game. Call them out for their bullshit. If your editor or your publisher won't go to bat for you then you probably don't want to be working there in the first place. Hold PR's feet to the fire. They don't have a gun to your head.
I know it's common for people to accuse those in the gaming press of being money hatted. I know the vast majority of you guys are actually honest, hard working dudes. But to the average, everyday normal person like myself just some of the shit I see is disgusting and should be exposed.
Frankly, it's a little fucking disappointing too. When I was in the hospital as kid reading issues of EGM one of my dreams was to become a journalist. I looked up to a lot of game journalists. Despite my horrible grammar and spelling in this post, I went to college to become a journalist and graduated cum laude. Reading about a lot of the inside baseball shit later in life was, frankly, kind of soul crushing. Little stuff like ex-EGM staff writing that Ed Semrad didn't actually write half of his editorials or reviews. Shit about being blacklisted for not playing ball. It's just disappointing. I take my lumps regularly, but I've never put myself in a situation where I've had to question my morals. I just wish you guys had editors that would go to bat for you and you'd be more transparent sometimes.