Originally Posted by aeolist
First of all, you are influenced by your friendships and relationships whether you realize it or not. They are paid to be nice to you for a reason, and if it failed to influence you the way that all of you writers seem to think it does then they wouldn't do it in the first place.
Second, appearances are important whether you're influenced or not. If people can look at the stuff you've written and have any kind of doubt that you're biased by your closeness with the PR pushing the product then you have failed at establishing trust. Right now the problem is that basically everyone in the industry is tainted by this kind of doubt so everyone's just thrown up their hands and either come to accept it or stopped reading games writing entirely, neither of which are good for your field.
1. Have you considered that maybe people are just friendly because they're people, and professionals, and we all recognize that we're just trying to do our jobs? I believe that it's possible to maintain cordial relationships with people in this industry without letting that affect me. And consequently...
2. ...I believe my work speaks for itself! If you do think something I've written was influenced by outside factors such as some sort of relationship with PR, I do encourage you to point out specifics or bring up examples. But it's hard for me to stress out too much about what people think of the field as a whole when all I can really control is what I personally do.
I agree that avoiding the appearance of impropriety is very important, which is one of the reasons I try to be as transparent as possible about everything possible. Transparency is one of the fundamental values behind all of Gawker Media.