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Piers
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:03 PM)
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Originally Posted by Gomu Gomu

Only to the ones who make hollow excuses for not trying to do actual reporting on this story.

Repost, because I really think this is why this story is going to die shortly:
*kotaku article*

Came close to spurting my coffee. Outstanding.
Rufus
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:04 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

They have even reduced it to "look Kotaku posted a story about maids/unboxing/chinese grannie instead of THIS so my point is proven, Kotaku doesn't care about the issue!!!!!".

No, Stephen Totilo pretty much accomplished that all by himself. The composite picture came after his quote.
conman
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:05 PM)
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Originally Posted by jschreier

I don't think I said anything like that latter line. What I said was that I made a joke because the concept seemed distant and absurd to me. As I've clarified in this thread, I think it's a topic worth discussing and thinking about and re-examining constantly. I would be neglecting my job if I didn't take the time to think about this sort of thing.

Anyways, heading off for at least the next hour or two, but thanks again to everyone who took the time to chat.

As with Gies, you deserve credit for diving into this discussion. However, this conversation should be happening in a more open outlet (like the site that you write for) rather than in the back alleys of GAF. And that, my friend, is all on you.
LiquidMetal14
hide your water-based mammals
(10-27-2012, 10:05 PM)
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Get the man an account!
Brashnir
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(10-27-2012, 10:06 PM)
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Originally Posted by Crewnh

What did they say? I thought Patrick was pretty good about it.

In the past they have been rather transparent and frank about this sort of thing, while also having a tendency to play the "I'm above that" card. I fully expect to hear that again next Tuesday.
NervousXtian
I'm an idiot
(10-27-2012, 10:06 PM)
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Originally Posted by Gomu Gomu

You missed the point. He justifies not doing a story on this subject because it's not important, and calls doing journalism is doing an unboxing video of a product sent to them for free to make them advertise for it.

Where did he say that? Where did he say the un-boxing video is some kind of journalism?

It's a fucking un-boxing video, it get's page hits, which helps pay the bills so they can do other things as well... it's also incredibly cheap and easy to produce.

People like watching them, and bitching about the un-boxing video as some proof of argument is just barking up the wrong tree.
sflufan
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:06 PM)
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The "inside baseball" dismissal of this situation also got me hot under the collar.

Can anyone honestly see the New York Times or Washington Post dismissing an analogous situation involving a relationship between political or corporate figures and a member of the press who appears to be giving those individuals "undue" favorable coverage as being "inside baseball" and not worthy of reporting? Especially if there are similar circumstances involving legal action?

"Inside baseball" smacks of an immature industry and an immature media covering it, where "relationships" supersede professional standards.
JABEE
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:06 PM)
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Originally Posted by conman

As with Gies, you deserve credit for diving into this discussion. However, this conversation should be happening in a more open outlet (like the site that you write for) rather than in the back alleys of GAF. And that, my friend, is all on you.

It's better that way. Wouldn't want any of the "normals" being exposed to this kind of discussion.
Last edited by JABEE; 10-27-2012 at 10:08 PM.
aeolist
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:07 PM)
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Originally Posted by Crewnh

What did they say? I thought Patrick was pretty good about it.

The Bombcast next week is almost certainly going to be heavily dismissive of any of these issues

But again, GB is entertainment and not journalism
BurnOutBrighter
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:07 PM)
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Originally Posted by Gomu Gomu

This is just too perfect.

"But that would take reporting to find out, and I just don't care enough." - Stephen Totilo

Why bother doing any real journalistic legwork and getting to the bottom of the story when you can let PR bring unboxing stories straight to your door.

So many great images coming out of this week that encapsulate the sordid state of gaming journalism.
Last edited by BurnOutBrighter; 10-27-2012 at 10:10 PM.
Crewnh
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:08 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

I think you'd see more in support if they weren't fearing retribution and being tossed petty insults (as I have in this thread) for not wanting blood like they do. They want to watch the whole thing burn down, at least some of them do. They have even reduced it to "look Kotaku posted a story about maids/unboxing/chinese grannie instead of THIS so my point is proven, Kotaku doesn't care about the issue!!!!!".

Totilo is the EIC. He doesn't care. Therefore Kotaku doesn't care.
Safe Bet
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:09 PM)

Originally Posted by teeny

What did they say? I thought Patrick was pretty good about it.

has patrick come out and said something?

my bad if i missed it

my post is referring to a personal expectation of a dismissive attitude given to the subject matter on the next podcast considering the cast's history of doing so
Last edited by Safe Bet; 10-27-2012 at 10:15 PM.
Jackpot
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(10-27-2012, 10:09 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

They want to watch the whole thing burn down, at least some of them do. They have even reduced it to "look Kotaku posted a story about maids/unboxing/chinese grannie instead of THIS so my point is proven, Kotaku doesn't care about the issue!!!!!".

The EIC of Kotaku saying it's nonsense, unimportant and untrue proves Kotaku doesn't care about the issue. But then you've consistently missed every point in this thread so at this point I'm wondering if I should just go with tag quoting instead of putting the effort into making proper arguments.
NervousXtian
I'm an idiot
(10-27-2012, 10:10 PM)
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Originally Posted by sflufan

The "inside baseball" dismissal of this situation also got me hot under the collar.

Can anyone honestly see the New York Times or Washington Post dismissing an analogous situation involving a relationship between political or corporate figures and a member of the press who appears to be giving those individuals "undue" favorable coverage as being "inside baseball" and not worthy of reporting? Especially if there are similar circumstances involving legal action?

"Inside baseball" smacks of an immature industry and an immature media covering it, where "relationships" supersede professional standards.


I don't think you understand the time and energy that would be actually required to tackle this issue. To do the story justice would actually take quite a bit of digging, interviews, follow-ups, etc.. some kind of vague "there might be a problem that PR is too embedded with sites" is just absurd to write and post.

So why the hell are people expected a story today about it?

I guess they could post up a timeline of everything, but really that doesn't serve anyone.
LabouredSubterfuge
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:11 PM)
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Originally Posted by BurnOutBrighter

This is just too perfect.

"But that would take reporting to find out, and I just don't care enough."

Why bother doing any real journalistic legwork and getting to the bottom of the story when you can let PR bring unboxing stories straight to your door.

So many great images coming out of this week that encapsulate the sordid state of gaming journalism.

Tbf he did emanate from MTV which is well known for journalistic rigour and standards.
conman
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:12 PM)
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Originally Posted by Brashnir

In the past they have been rather transparent and frank about this sort of thing, while also having a tendency to play the "I'm above that" card. I fully expect to hear that again next Tuesday.

Ryan already played the "I'm not a journalist" card. In contrast, Klepek wrote a piece about this talking about how he does think of himself as a journalist.

But I do think Klepek will be the only one who isn't dismissive of this whole thing, and he's also the only one who is unafraid to call himself a "journalist" and hold himself to some ethical standards. Unfortunately, even he said at the end of his piece that we all just need to "move on" and get over it already. Not a winning sentiment.
Stuart444
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:12 PM)
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Originally Posted by Safe Bet

has patrick come out and said something?

my bad if i missed it

my post is referring to a personal expectation of a dismissive attitude given to the subject matter on the next podcast given the cast's history of doing so

http://www.giantbomb.com/news/worth-...g-102612/4426/

The first part of this talks about it.
Effnine
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(10-27-2012, 10:12 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

I don't think you understand the time and energy that would be actually required to tackle this issue. To do the story justice would actually take quite a bit of digging, interviews, follow-ups, etc.. some kind of vague "there might be a problem that PR is too embedded with sites" is just absurd to write and post.

So why the hell are people expected a story today about it?

I guess they could post up a timeline of everything, but really that doesn't serve anyone.


What you are describing is called "journalism" and "reporting". Newspapers do it every day. They tackle a complicated subject, find sources, and print it for the public in explicit detail. Obviously, blogs are more concerned with page hits. See the problem with our media consumption habits?
beastmode
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:12 PM)

Originally Posted by jschreier

I don't think I said anything like that latter line. What I said was that I made a joke because the concept seemed distant and absurd to me. As I've clarified in this thread, I think it's a topic worth discussing and thinking about and re-examining constantly. I would be neglecting my job if I didn't take the time to think about this sort of thing.

Anyways, heading off for at least the next hour or two, but thanks again to everyone who took the time to chat.

.

Originally Posted by jschreier

Very well put. It's unfortunate that so many of you are viewing things with such cold cynicism. One solution might be for people like me to be as transparent as possible and be willing to engage in conversation on these issues, which is one of the reasons I'm posting in this thread. But it's tough to talk about that when the conversation keeps swinging back to the fact that Kotaku is doing something evil because we took 10 minutes to show people what's in the Halo collectors edition but we're not interested in putting a great deal of time into a story about media issues.

Regardless, to address what you said: I had no idea that people were reacting so extremely to those silly tweets until I saw this thread hours after I made them. I can see your perspective to be sure. But the major reason I'm joking about the idea of someone advertising to win a PS3 is because it's so absurd in the first place that anybody would think it's OK to advertise to win a PS3. I am completely detached both mentally and geographically from these incidents, as are many other reporters I've spoken to.

On that same level, the idea that PR people are pulling the strings behind every outlet is also absurd and so at odds with everything I do every day that joking about it is a natural response. But you're right: I can see exactly why it feels like a slap in the face to see me joking about something like that if you actually believe that me and my colleagues are corrupt or shady or unethical or whatever else. I get that.

Last edited by beastmode; 10-27-2012 at 10:16 PM.
snap0212
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:12 PM)

Originally Posted by Safe Bet

has patrick come out and said something?

my bad if i missed it

Worth Reading: 10/26/12
Marcel
Banned
(10-27-2012, 10:12 PM)

Originally Posted by NervousXtian

People like watching them, and bitching about the un-boxing video as some proof of argument is just barking up the wrong tree.

Are you speaking for everyone? I've always thought unboxing freebies from a corporation whose products you're expected to review fairly for your audience to be a little close to a conflict of interest. Do you think what lobbyists do is okay too?
sflufan
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(10-27-2012, 10:12 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

I don't think you understand the time and energy that would be actually required to tackle this issue. To do the story justice would actually take quite a bit of digging, interviews, follow-ups, etc.. some kind of vague "there might be a problem that PR is too embedded with sites" is just absurd to write and post.

So why the hell are people expected a story today about it?

I guess they could post up a timeline of everything, but really that doesn't serve anyone.

It could be in the form of editorial commentary.

It's the out of hand dismissal of its relevance that has most people upset.
NervousXtian
I'm an idiot
(10-27-2012, 10:13 PM)
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Originally Posted by Jackpot

The EIC of Kotaku saying it's nonsense, unimportant and untrue proves Kotaku doesn't care about the issue. But then you've consistently missed every point in this thread so at this point I'm wondering if I should just go with tag quoting instead of putting the effort into making proper arguments.

Well, to be honest he has a point.

Even if we got back to the actual article and things that first happened in this story we don't truly know the details of what took place. We have speculation, conflicting twitter statements, etc... but it would take someone actually digging for real info on even what happened between MCV/Eurogamer/Laruen/Rab.

We don't even have that info yet.. but you want someone to write a story on the relationship between PR and Journalists.. like yesterday?

A piece written that quickly would have been pure shite.
Harlock
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(10-27-2012, 10:14 PM)
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If Totilo had a restaurant your slogan would be: "Our food is delicious! Just donīt look at our kitchen!" :)
Shurs
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(10-27-2012, 10:14 PM)
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Originally Posted by EternalGamer

I'm not sure what you are talking about. Are you saying that people that make OT threads get games for free?

I'm saying the people who run and write for fan sites are more easily corruptible than those who are actually paid to write for the bigger sites, because those are the people who are doing it for free games while writers on the bigger sites are actually getting paid for their work.

And, yes, some of those "fan site" writers/critics/journalists make Official Threads on GAF for games which they receive review codes/copies, yet no one ever says anything.
Rufus
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(10-27-2012, 10:15 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

It's a fucking un-boxing video, it get's page hits, which helps pay the bills so they can do other things as well... it's also incredibly cheap and easy to produce.

People like watching them, and bitching about the un-boxing video as some proof of argument is just barking up the wrong tree.

It's like you suddenly forgot what this whole thread is about.

If they un-boxed some product unrelated to the industry they are covering, you'd actually have a decent point as far as keeping their integrity is concerned (however much they had left). But they're not doing that. They're un-boxing a Halo 4 bundle.

Of course they're doing it for the clicks. Of course they're doing it to make money. The point is that they like to call what they do "good games journalism", when doing a glorified commercial for a company in the industry you are covering is anything but that.

That's fine if Stephen Totilo actually understands his outlet to be an extension of PR, with occasional editorial that's worth a damn. But he isn't doing that, he calls it "games journalism". The satire fucking writes itself.
BlackJace
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(10-27-2012, 10:15 PM)
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I have to say, this is the most interesting and well-flowing discussion I've ever read on GAF.

Well done, guys.
JABEE
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(10-27-2012, 10:15 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

I don't think you understand the time and energy that would be actually required to tackle this issue. To do the story justice would actually take quite a bit of digging, interviews, follow-ups, etc.. some kind of vague "there might be a problem that PR is too embedded with sites" is just absurd to write and post.

So why the hell are people expected a story today about it?

I guess they could post up a timeline of everything, but really that doesn't serve anyone.

If that was the excuse, I'd be fine with not publishing a story. None of the press outlets want to do the story. Period. It is either "unimportant" or "too inside-baseball."
B-Dex
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(10-27-2012, 10:16 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

Well, to be honest he has a point.

Even if we got back to the actual article and things that first happened in this story we don't truly know the details of what took place. We have speculation, conflicting twitter statements, etc... but it would take someone actually digging for real info on even what happened between MCV/Eurogamer/Laruen/Rab.

We don't even have that info yet.. but you want someone to write a story on the relationship between PR and Journalists.. like yesterday?

A piece written that quickly would have been pure shite.

The main point of the article isn't those incidents. Those are examples.
conman
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:16 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

We don't even have that info yet.. but you want someone to write a story on the relationship between PR and Journalists.. like yesterday?

A piece written that quickly would have been pure shite.

Journalism moves at light speed these days. And opinion pieces take even less time.

Regardless, editors and writers shouldn't have to meditate long on their ethical standards or their own relationships with PR. That stuff should be like reflex and take no time to write or think about. If they have to "research" that, then they're really far gone. The point isn't for them to write about those specific events, but like Rab Florence himself did, to use these events as an excuse to do some serious and deep introspection about the nature of building trust with a readership, about setting firm boundaries between themselves and PR.

Clearly the status quo isn't good enough. But just as clearly, none of these a-holes wants to rock the boat for the sake of ethical standards.
Last edited by conman; 10-27-2012 at 10:19 PM.
CzarTim
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(10-27-2012, 10:17 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

Well, to be honest he has a point.

Even if we got back to the actual article and things that first happened in this story we don't truly know the details of what took place. We have speculation, conflicting twitter statements, etc... but it would take someone actually digging for real info on even what happened between MCV/Eurogamer/Laruen/Rab.

We don't even have that info yet.. but you want someone to write a story on the relationship between PR and Journalists.. like yesterday?

A piece written that quickly would have been pure shite.

But they haven't said, "we're working on a story." They've made it clear this isn't worth their time.
Syriel
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:18 PM)
A few personal observations and comments in no particular order:


1) Yes, you can tell PR folks just to send you the games. I've had this discussion with PR in the past and I'll probably have it again in the future. Most "swag" is crap, though t-shirts are useful for the gym. Getting the game early is always the most important thing.

Does this mean I've always turned down swag over the years? No. Most of it gets given away or thrown away (when I've worked at an office it usually went to interns, when I've worked freelance it would either go to Goodwill, friends, or if particularly valuable, be given away on one of the outlets I was writing for).

That said, I have kept a handful of things over the years. My favorite piece is a laser etched plastic block (like the stuff you can find in mall kiosks). It has the Vic Viper image inside. Was a paperweight that was produced for Gradius V on the PS2.

For the record, my review copy of Halo 4 is the standard edition. Which means I got the disc, the case and the 14 day live trial. There's not even in instruction manual in there. I'm playing it exactly like the vast majority of buyers will play it. ;)


2) Yes, readers are interested in this sort of thing. For Tolito to dismiss it as a non-issue is an error in judgement, IMHO. The story is not about Wainwright. Her actions are merely an illustration of what Florence was talking about.


3) Most PR and journalists are honest. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are the exception rather than the rule. I've dealt with some of those exceptions over the years; the trick to doing so successfully is to never compromise the rules you lay down for yourself.

Some of the more standout exceptions:

a) I had a PR director from a major publisher tell me point blank that I should include a recommendation for one of her games in a holiday buyer's guide even tho I had yet to play it. Now this is from two generations back, so it is a paraphrase, but was basically "You don't need to play a game to write about it." I was surprised to hear something that blatant come out of someone's mouth, but simply reiterated "If I haven't played it, I can't recommend it." What's funny is that prior to this I'd been on something of a blacklist for having published a negative review a few months earlier (I was writing a newspaper column at the time) and hadn't been getting any review code for awhile. I figured that conversation would simply confirm my blacklist status. Instead, I got a surprise FedEx the next day with both the new game she wanted me to cover and all of the prior releases the company had never sent. My reaction was to laugh.

b) Some PR folks love to throw parties. While it can be great to see a bunch of games in one place there are parties that are useful showcases (games are organized, people are available to demo, answer questions, etc.) and then there are just parties. One company which tended to do the latter had a lull in releases one year and as such decided to scale back the parties and go with standard press demos (meet in a hotel room, get a game demo, etc.). After one of these meetings I dropped a friendly note to the PR rep saying how I appreciated the meeting and how it was much more useful (from my perspective) than the company's typical events because it was quiet and offered direct access to the information. I encouraged them to keep doing more demos like that. In response I had a nasty letter sent to myself (and the EIC of one of my outlets) telling me how I shouldn't be telling PR how to do their job and how a lot of effort goes into their parties. I have declined to attend any of their events since that email. I suppose you can call it a permanent, personal blacklist.

c) Lest you think it's just PR who have bad apples, I've had editors disappear off the face of the earth when it comes time to get paid. For a one-off piece it's not worth making a stink (and the cost in pursuing it is usually more than the check anyway), but it does happen.

Despite these, I always strive to not let it color my opinions of others. PR or media, I always assume someone is honest and truthful unless they give me a reason otherwise.


4) Metacritic's influence on the industry is stronger than many think. Why do you see so many sites run the same review for multiple versions (PS3, X360, etc.)? Because MC doesn't like it when separate, platform specific reviews are written by the same person. It's fine if the review text and the score are the same, but if the review text and score are different MC thinks that's a bad thing. From a media perspective this presents a conundrum for all but the biggest outlets. After all it's easy enough to have a single staff member play though a single game on multiple platforms and then write up the differences in separate reviews. Having three different people write up three different reviews not only takes up 3x the resources, but it also doesn't ensure a direct comparison. The fact that MC's editors are trying to exert this sort of control over how other outlets produce their coverage is scary.


5) Ubisoft didn't send out a $2,000 flag. Well, not on purpose. The promo flag wouldn't have cost anywhere near that. It makes a nice headline when people pay crazy prices on eBay and the PR team is sure to get a kick out of it because it means publicity for the game, but they probably spent less than $50 on the package.


6) Unboxing videos in and of themselves are not bad. I don't understand why they get traffic, but they do. That said, the reason Kotaku is getting flack in here for the Halo 4 bit is twofold. One, it gives the impression that Kotaku's EIC thinks unboxing a game console (and reiterating a bullet point from a press release) is more important than taking a hard look at the interactions between press and PR in the industry. Given the size and readership, they are in a good position to research such a story and put the proper resources behind it. The second point has to do with how it creates the appearance of a conflict with the stated gift policy. Tolito ran a story about the $300 Capcom Chess set in which he said he didn't want to use it for a contest and wasn't sure what he was going to do with it. For the Xbox 360 unboxing, there was no mention of what is being done with the console. In short, for a site that makes a big deal about its ethics policy of not accepting anything, these pieces give the perception that said policy is not all that strict.

And that brings us full circle to Florence's original thesis. Many of us in the games media are doing things that could be perceived as wrong/biased/improper even if they are totally innocent. That doesn't mean the perception is true, but we should all be taking a hard look at what we're doing and make sure we don't contribute to that perception. If we don't, we shouldn't complain when others assume that perception is reality.
NervousXtian
I'm an idiot
(10-27-2012, 10:18 PM)
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Originally Posted by Rufus

It's like you suddenly forgot what this whole thread is about.

If they un-boxed some product unrelated to the industry they are covering, you'd actually have a decent point as far as keeping their integrity is concerned (however much they had left). But they're not doing that. They're un-boxing a Halo 4 bundle.

Of course they're doing it for the clicks. Of course they're doing it to make money. The point is that they like to call what they do "good games journalism", when doing a glorified commercial for a company in the industry you are covering is anything but that.

That's fine if Stephen Totilo actually understands his outlet to be an extension of PR, with occasional editorial that's worth a damn. But he isn't doing that, he calls it "games journalism". The satire fucking writes itself.


You do understand that these are for profit websites? Right?

You do understand Kotaku is a gaming site?

Halo 4 is a game?

Of course they should un-box the new Nepresso machine. Because that'd make more sense than unboxing Halo 4.

Holy fuck man, it's a gaming site.. it's no all serious all the time. Is that really what you guys want? All serious game news, nothing else.
DangerStepp
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:19 PM)
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I've seen at least two different enthusiast personalities come in here and use the term 'transparent' as though it's a catch-all and a safety net.

You cannot hide behind that term; you're fooling no one but yourself. You shouldn't have to be transparent about something--you need to divorce yourself from anything that would require you to do so.

If you bang someone's mom are are honest with the victim about banging their mom then it doesn't change the fact you just banged their mom.
Last edited by DangerStepp; 10-27-2012 at 10:21 PM.
EternalGamer
Banned
(10-27-2012, 10:21 PM)

Originally Posted by conman

Ryan already played the "I'm not a journalist" card. In contrast, Klepek wrote a piece about this talking about how he does think of himself as a journalist.
.

I hope somebody challenges Ryan on this. I don't really care what you call yourself, being concerned with how PR is influencing your work is something you should be concerned about unless you just outright consider yourself a shill. And if you do, please let the rest of us know so we can safely ignore what you say.
Risette
A Good Citizen
(10-27-2012, 10:21 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

You do understand that these are for profit websites? Right?

You do understand Kotaku is a gaming site?

Halo 4 is a game?

Of course they should un-box the new Nepresso machine. Because that'd make more sense than unboxing Halo 4.

Holy fuck man, it's a gaming site.. it's no all serious all the time. Is that really what you guys want? All serious game news, nothing else.

Are you going to keep repeating the same excuse for the questionable ethics in the industry along these lines?

"Not everythings gotta be serious guys, manipulative PR is okay because uh people like it and uh they gotta make money, lol! Stop being so serious! Games are just toys!"
BlackJace
Member
(10-27-2012, 10:21 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

You do understand that these are for profit websites? Right?

You do understand Kotaku is a gaming site?

Halo 4 is a game?

Of course they should un-box the new Nepresso machine. Because that'd make more sense than unboxing Halo 4.

Holy fuck man, it's a gaming site.. it's no all serious all the time. Is that really what you guys want? All serious game news, nothing else.

The point is that an unboxing video supersedes this important issue. It's Kotaku putting their priorities out for everyone to see.
Rufus
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(10-27-2012, 10:22 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

Holy fuck man, it's a gaming site.. it's no all serious all the time. Is that really what you guys want? All serious game news, nothing else.

Serious? What the shit are you talking about? I don't want them to dig up dirt on developers or whatever else it is you have in mind with "being serious".

If you're calling what you do "games journalism", I'm expecting editorial to be front and center. If it isn't, don't call it games journalism.
Mama Robotnik
(10-27-2012, 10:22 PM)
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Originally Posted by Gomu Gomu

I'm still fifty pages behind and catching up, but this image embodies the spinelessness, hypocrisy, ignorance and utterly cretinous condescension of supposed games journalists. How someone who supposedly writes for a living cannot see the problem with what he just wrote, it utterly boggles the mind. "Doing good games journalism" means, apparently, ignoring a developing story that questions the entire integrity of his pitiable profession.

I hope this image haunts Totilo forever. Maybe he's eventually learn from it.
EternalGamer
Banned
(10-27-2012, 10:22 PM)

Originally Posted by DangerStepp

I've seen at least two different enthusiast personalities come in here and use the term 'transparent' as though it's a catch-all and a safety net.

You cannot take comfort that it makes everything better; you're fooling no one but yourself. You shouldn't have to be transparent about something; you need to divorce yourself from anything that would require you to do so.

If you bang someone's mom are are honest with the victim about banging their mom then it doesn't change the fact you just banged their mom.

No but it is better than having sex with their mom and then videotaping it for the kid to see on a blog. There was some prettty deep dicking of that transparent Xbox 360 in that Kotaku video. Corporations are clearly people. They love getting rimmed.
TheBaronOfNA
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(10-27-2012, 10:23 PM)
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Originally Posted by EternalGamer

I hope somebody challenges Ryan on this. I don't really care what you call yourself, being concerned with how PR is influencing your work is something you should be concerned about unless you just outright consider yourself a shill. And if you do, please let the rest of us know so we can safely ignore what you say.

Is consistent with Ryan way of think, I dunno why people are surprised. I can see his point.
Marcel
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(10-27-2012, 10:24 PM)
Thanks to Syriel for providing a fair look at things from his personal experience. It's a lot to quote, but just wanted to say that it's really good & candid stuff.
Toodles
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(10-27-2012, 10:25 PM)
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Originally Posted by jschreier

As I've clarified in this thread, I think it's a topic worth discussing and thinking about and re-examining constantly. I would be neglecting my job if I didn't take the time to think about this sort of thing.

As I mentioned in my other post in this thread, the above is all I'm hoping for after the week's shitstorm.

Several insightful posts, Shawn Elliot offering the prime examples, have highlighted the kind of subtle psychology involved and the slow, creeping influence-potential that PR can -- will actively attempt to -- create. The greatest thing for the press that can come from this bollocks (that, hopefully, *has* come from this bollocks) is simply putting the matter out there as an F5 to their own self-perspective.

I'm not baying for blood, I'm not clamouring for the grey-area guilty to be revealed and held to task. I just hope that the issue is now in the thoughts of those we're questioning. I at least want to think that this holiday season's reviews will have an uncommon degree of sincerity.
Dennis
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(10-27-2012, 10:25 PM)
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Originally Posted by EternalGamer

I hope somebody challenges Ryan on this. I don't really care what you call yourself, being concerned with how PR is influencing your work is something you should be concerned about unless you just outright consider yourself a shill. And if you do, please let the rest of us know so we can safely ignore what you say.

Simply refusing to call yourself a 'journalist' does not free you from certain ethical considerations such as not getting into bed with PR.
GarthVaderUK
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(10-27-2012, 10:25 PM)
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Thanks for posting your thoughts Syriel, that was a good read.
JABEE
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(10-27-2012, 10:26 PM)
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Originally Posted by Syriel

A few personal observations and comments in no particular order:


1) Yes, you can tell PR folks just to send you the games. I've had this discussion with PR in the past and I'll probably have it again in the future. Most "swag" is crap, though t-shirts are useful for the gym. Getting the game early is always the most important thing.

Does this mean I've always turned down swag over the years? No. Most of it gets given away or thrown away (when I've worked at an office it usually went to interns, when I've worked freelance it would either go to Goodwill, friends, or if particularly valuable, be given away on one of the outlets I was writing for).

That said, I have kept a handful of things over the years. My favorite piece is a laser etched plastic block (like the stuff you can find in mall kiosks). It has the Vic Viper image inside. Was a paperweight that was produced for Gradius V on the PS2.

For the record, my review copy of Halo 4 is the standard edition. Which means I got the disc, the case and the 14 day live trial. There's not even in instruction manual in there. I'm playing it exactly like the vast majority of buyers will play it. ;)


2) Yes, readers are interested in this sort of thing. For Tolito to dismiss it as a non-issue is an error in judgement, IMHO. The story is not about Wainwright. Her actions are merely an illustration of what Florence was talking about.


3) Most PR and journalists are honest. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are the exception rather than the rule. I've dealt with some of those exceptions over the years; the trick to doing so successfully is to never compromise the rules you lay down for yourself.

Some of the more standout exceptions:

a) I had a PR director from a major publisher tell me point blank that I should include a recommendation for one of her games in a holiday buyer's guide even tho I had yet to play it. Now this is from two generations back, so it is a paraphrase, but was basically "You don't need to play a game to write about it." I was surprised to hear something that blatant come out of someone's mouth, but simply reiterated "If I haven't played it, I can't recommend it." What's funny is that prior to this I'd been on something of a blacklist for having published a negative review a few months earlier (I was writing a newspaper column at the time) and hadn't been getting any review code for awhile. I figured that conversation would simply confirm my blacklist status. Instead, I got a surprise FedEx the next day with both the new game she wanted me to cover and all of the prior releases the company had never sent. My reaction was to laugh.

b) Some PR folks love to throw parties. While it can be great to see a bunch of games in one place there are parties that are useful showcases (games are organized, people are available to demo, answer questions, etc.) and then there are just parties. One company which tended to do the latter had a lull in releases one year and as such decided to scale back the parties and go with standard press demos (meet in a hotel room, get a game demo, etc.). After one of these meetings I dropped a friendly note to the PR rep saying how I appreciated the meeting and how it was much more useful (from my perspective) than the company's typical events because it was quiet and offered direct access to the information. I encouraged them to keep doing more demos like that. In response I had a nasty letter sent to myself (and the EIC of one of my outlets) telling me how I shouldn't be telling PR how to do their job and how a lot of effort goes into their parties. I have declined to attend any of their events since that email. I suppose you can call it a permanent, personal blacklist.

c) Lest you think it's just PR who have bad apples, I've had editors disappear off the face of the earth when it comes time to get paid. For a one-off piece it's not worth making a stink (and the cost in pursuing it is usually more than the check anyway), but it does happen.

Despite these, I always strive to not let it color my opinions of others. PR or media, I always assume someone is honest and truthful unless they give me a reason otherwise.


4) Metacritic's influence on the industry is stronger than many think. Why do you see so many sites run the same review for multiple versions (PS3, X360, etc.)? Because MC doesn't like it when separate, platform specific reviews are written by the same person. It's fine if the review text and the score are the same, but if the review text and score are different MC thinks that's a bad thing. From a media perspective this presents a conundrum for all but the biggest outlets. After all it's easy enough to have a single staff member play though a single game on multiple platforms and then write up the differences in separate reviews. Having three different people write up three different reviews not only takes up 3x the resources, but it also doesn't ensure a direct comparison. The fact that MC's editors are trying to exert this sort of control over how other outlets produce their coverage is scary.


5) Ubisoft didn't send out a $2,000 flag. Well, not on purpose. The promo flag wouldn't have cost anywhere near that. It makes a nice headline when people pay crazy prices on eBay and the PR team is sure to get a kick out of it because it means publicity for the game, but they probably spent less than $50 on the package.


6) Unboxing videos in and of themselves are not bad. I don't understand why they get traffic, but they do. That said, the reason Kotaku is getting flack in here for the Halo 4 bit is twofold. One, it gives the impression that Kotaku's EIC thinks unboxing a game console (and reiterating a bullet point from a press release) is more important than taking a hard look at the interactions between press and PR in the industry. Given the size and readership, they are in a good position to research such a story and put the proper resources behind it. The second point has to do with how it creates the appearance of a conflict with the stated gift policy. Tolito ran a story about the $300 Capcom Chess set in which he said he didn't want to use it for a contest and wasn't sure what he was going to do with it. For the Xbox 360 unboxing, there was no mention of what is being done with the console. In short, for a site that makes a big deal about its ethics policy of not accepting anything, these pieces give the perception that said policy is not all that strict.

And that brings us full circle to Florence's original thesis. Many of us in the games media are doing things that could be perceived as wrong/biased/improper even if they are totally innocent. That doesn't mean the perception is true, but we should all be taking a hard look at what we're doing and make sure we don't contribute to that perception. If we don't, we shouldn't complain when others assume that perception is reality.

That's scary.

Also a really good write up on what is going on here.
Kinyou
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(10-27-2012, 10:26 PM)
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Originally Posted by hammster

https://twitter.com/robertflorence/s...95951836852224

BeauRoger
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(10-27-2012, 10:27 PM)
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Originally Posted by NervousXtian

You do understand that these are for profit websites? Right?

You do understand Kotaku is a gaming site?

Halo 4 is a game?

Of course they should un-box the new Nepresso machine. Because that'd make more sense than unboxing Halo 4.

Holy fuck man, it's a gaming site.. it's no all serious all the time. Is that really what you guys want? All serious game news, nothing else.

Well, in the end its all about what that site defines itself as. If you are going to use the term "journalist", reviewing, being a consumer advocate, then that kind of mingling with companies whose interest is to sell the products that you are supposed to be critical of, is unacceptable.
conman
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(10-27-2012, 10:27 PM)
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Originally Posted by Syriel

3) Most PR and journalists are honest. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are the exception rather than the rule. I've dealt with some of those exceptions over the years; the trick to doing so successfully is to never compromise the rules you lay down for yourself.

Yes, it's a problem when folks are blatantly dishonest or shady. But the bigger issue is with the "honest" people. If you (or anyone else) haven't watched the video that Shawn Elliott linked to, watch it.

The point is that it's the small little give-and-take between honest people that's the real problem. It makes for an invisible conflict of interest that journalists and PR are in the worst position to be able to recognize. And their consistent and loud denial and dismissive attitude is a sign that they don't see it. But we can.
TheBaronOfNA
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(10-27-2012, 10:28 PM)
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Originally Posted by Dennis

Simply refusing to call yourself a 'journalist' does not free you from certain ethical considerations such as not getting into bed with PR.

I don't think Ryan disagrees in that tough.

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