Listened to Weekend Confirmed 136
since they talk about this (starting around 63 minutes in). Blocked out some quotes and added comments. Legend: GL = Garnett Lee; JC = Jeff Cananata; AR = Andrea Rene.
GL: "I'm always avoiding using the word 'journalist.' There's some space for journalism in the video game world but it's not really what the audience really wants."
JC: "Exactly ... 95 percent of what people online are referring to games journalism is not. If you're approaching it as a reader expecting that from it, that's a mistake."
GL: "It's entertainment reporting."
I think the size of this thread, its number of views and the subsequent articles and editorials on the topic prove otherwise. People want to talk about this and have always wanted a better level and quality of reporting from those in the games press. Saying, "But, I'm not a journalist, so it's not fair to demand that of me," is a cop out.
For one, folks like Geoff Keighley still refer to themselves as game journalists. Go to his Twitter profile
. It's the first line in his bio.
AR: "We get these products for free to talk about them because in order for us to you know, be competitive in the industry, we need to get the games beforehand. Reviewers want to know before the game's out and I just, like, think this whole idea, you know, that we shouldn't get stuff for free or this like payola system, like believing that exists, is such bull-cocky I tell you."
Except ethics are violated all the time, as I detailed in my editorial
. The only things like personalities Andrea have to go on is trust and they severe that with the way they conduct themselves -- whether it's accepting free games, free travel, networking opportunities for business, etc.
JC: "Obviously we are in a position where we are a cog in a machine. I have very strong feelings that vacillate between two points of view because I get it. I get people wanting to be able to trust the people that they are reading or watching. I protect my opinion very strongly. I wish people cared this much about sh*t that really mattered ... I think that a lot of the hullabaloo and brouhaha comes from a place that it isn't really based in reality. I don't think anybody is truly shocked or would go to Geoff Keighley for something that would be invalidated by that photo. I think people are just pissed off at a guy who's very successful is successful in this way."
Nice. Jeff admits they're cogs in a machine, meaning they're very malleable when it comes to what they'll do, but then says, "You're just jealous of folks like Geoff Keighley." Nope. Has nothing to do with that.
AR: "The idea that we shouldn't have personal relationship with people in PR is silly."
It's silly that you think it's silly. You shouldn't have a personal
relationship. You should have a professional
one -- big difference.
GL: "But do you have personal relationships where you get free PS3s?"
AR: "No, but that'd be awesome. I have personal relationships with people at specific PR companies but I'm not putting a score on that game. Somebody else at the company is doing that"
Again, she doesn't see this is a problem, but it inherently is.
GL: "I don't like to talk about this subject because it's self evident. You could look at anyone's work - anyone." Starts talking about trip to Boston to cover Assassin's Creed 3 where dinner, travel, etc. is paid for. Say's he didn't go. "It's still a lot of work. You have to get your pieces done. You have to get in on deadline. You quickly atune yourself to PR speak, when they're messaging you ... I'll be honest: You pretty quickly tune that sh*t out."
Cognitive dissonance. You can say, "It doesn't affect me all you want." According to proven psychology, it does. Plus, the perception of it does not look good to your readers.
JC: "I understand the idea of it is offensive and the idea of it is problematic but in actuality and practicality, I don't understand, like, what do people want?"
People are tired with the way the video game press has been operating for so many years. They want it to operate under standard journalistic principles. They want you to be transparent, even if all you think you are is a personality and nothing more.