Originally Posted by JABEE
When there are no generally accepted ethics and principles of games journalism like there are in sports journalism (no cheering in the press box), it's hard not to assume the worst. There doesn't appear to be standards across the board, and no one wants to call out those who cross their own personal ethical boundaries.
As someone who follows a great deal of sports journalism, I really don't think there's any sort of unified ethical system at all. In many ways I think it's worse than gaming journalism - if you think Halo 4 unboxing videos are bad, what about ESPN striking multi-billion dollar deals to be the only outlet that televises the product it reports on? (But this is a whole different conversation.)
There are no standards across the board because there is no "across the board." As Stephen mentioned earlier, bigger sites like Kotaku can afford to have very strict standards (and ethical standards are one of Kotaku's strongest points, in my opinion), but who's going to tell some college kid that he has to follow certain ethical standards for the volunteer site he writes for? And who gets to decide what those ethical standards are? I think accepting and keeping review copies is OK - what if some other reporter doesn't? Why should I let that reporter dictate how I do my job?
The conversation is very important, but again, please keep in mind that this is not black and white, and there are different levels for every issue.