Game "Journalism": Major sites fooled by 4chan, Jason Schreier offers GAF apology

Jun 7, 2004
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I do indeed think your post was cause for an edit and I have updated my story accordingly. Thanks! Please note that the comments you pointed out were not posted until after we ran our story this morning. (I read through the Eurogamer comments before running it.)
Thanks. I would constructively suggest that in the future, you and your colleagues should use a significantly higher standard for determining whether tip-based rumors are worth reporting on - i.e., don't treat them as actual tips unless: (a) there is someone actually claiming to be a source (or a publicly available source like an actual listing); and (b) there is reason to believe that the source would have access to the information in question. Not having 100% proof that it's fake doesn't justify reporting on it in the first place, particularly when neither of those two standards are met, which was the case even before the comments I quoted were posted.
 
Jul 21, 2004
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Pffftt this has nothing on SNAP! DS
:lol this brought back memories!

I remember doing this little project years ago on a forum competition and we decided to go viral with it and ended up on many a site including IGN and the old Gamesradar. S pong even called me a "punk kid". Those were the days... though I guess journalism hasn't really changed much ;)



 

Kelegacy

XBOX - RECORD ME LOVING DOWN MY WOMAN GOOD
May 9, 2006
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I'm not sure gaming journalism ever existed, or at least it's a rare commodity. There seems to be so much based on rumor and supposed inference. Reviews are basically all I tend to read these days, and I always cross sample many publications. Previews are glorified advertisements/PR releases that site the pros and potentials of a game while too often never mentioning the downsides encountered. It feels like pussy footing around too often.

When in-depth stories surface about the industry that is individual to a magazine/site (i.e. it originated with the reporter, not reported from another reported location as seems to be the norm), that is interesting journalism. I haven't read a really good piece that makes me go "Hmmm," for a long time. Meanwhile I drive home from work and listen to NPR each day and I get bombarded with short segments about stuff that I find interesting about even the most mundane crap, because the reporters actually did research and interviews and it shows.
 
Jul 27, 2011
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this happens all the time is every single form of journalism
It does; but it shouldn't.

One of the most fundamental things in Journalism is verifying statements/checking sources, that not one of those sites decided to look around prior to posting is poor.

I mean, c'mon guys; you could've still got attention/hits by being the first to actually report this as a hoax!
 
Oct 20, 2010
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It does; but it shouldn't.

One of the most fundamental things in Journalism is verifying statements/checking sources, that not one of those sites decided to look around prior to posting is poor.

I mean, c'mon guys; you could've still got attention/hits by being the first to actually report this as a hoax!
When the big-hitters get hoaxed (and more importantly, print false information without context) there are serious repurcussions. When Kotaku gets hoaxed it's just 'oh, ok...NEXT!'
 
May 22, 2010
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lol at least kotaku updated the post somewhat. Any other sites update their 'rumor'?
Yeah I like Jim Sterling's update:

destructoid said:
[Update: Apparently the listing story was an hilarious fake set up for the semi-annual, "lol game journalists will believe things sometimes" prank. Oh ho, you got us all with your plausible scenario that we found plausible. Seriously though, good joke guys.

I should also point out that, instead of checking facts, I was drawing an MS Paint picture of Nick Cave. So I do accept full responsibility for this journalistic failure.]
http://www.destructoid.com/gta-vice-city-nights-monster-hunter-listed-for-ps-vita-223376.phtml
 
Jul 20, 2004
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:lol this brought back memories!

I remember doing this little project years ago on a forum competition and we decided to go viral with it and ended up on many a site including IGN and the old Gamesradar. S pong even called me a "punk kid". Those were the days... though I guess journalism hasn't really changed much ;)



Dude those were the days! Quite funny to see GR report the news as fake having previously been reporting it as fact along with every other gaming site.

Good times bud :)
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Now watch Sony announce all this on Friday. :p
I don't think the entirety of Sony Corp focused on a single task could create something that awesome.

Besides, they'd want to save GTA for E3, and a ToIR localization isn't going to be announced in Japan. Type-0 HD and Portable 3rd HD (or even Portable 3rd G) could happen.
 
Feb 7, 2010
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So if I read comments and browse gaf / 4chan I can get a job as a games journalist? Why am I in university again?

I think I just realized that Gaf probably provides more news than some of these sites do.
 
Sep 18, 2007
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In an ideal world, every game publisher in the industry would respond to me within 15 minutes and offer actual answers, instead of "no comment."

But since we don't live in an ideal world, I have to go with my gut. If a rumor seems legitimate to me - as this one did - I don't have a problem posting it without confirmation.
Journalism!
 
Jun 10, 2008
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How utterly embarrassingly unprofessional, Jason. It's lucky you're at a place beset by a constant stream of illegitimate complaints and internet whiners. Your job is likely safe because your superiors likely won't care to sift through the garbage complaints and see this very real instance of shoddy workmanship and borderline plagiarism on your part.

Know that nearly any reputable site or news source would have you packing your things by now. You should be counting your lucky stars and just stop attempting to hold unpaid forum posters to standards that you've just proven to be wholly incapable of upholding.

It's not their job to fact check. It is yours, and yours alone. It's not Ignis Fatuus or Father_Brain's name on the byline. It's yours. Your actual name, by the way, Jason Schreier.

Which will likely pop up on Google for future employers who now know you're lazy, unethical and willing to lash out at a likely consumer base because you've failed to do the bare minimum of your job.
daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam


 
Apr 10, 2007
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Thanks for clicks!

In other gaming news......

Marvel Vs Capcpom 3 is available now for Playstation Vita!

50 Epic Characters * Wi-Fi Multiplayer * Touch Screen Controls * Replay Analyzer



That's what it's all about. It's almost worth it to continually make a mockery of actual reporting to fund their site, and ultimately, their jobs.

The Capcpom typo from the Steel Battalion trailer that happened this week is nowhere to be found on a site like Kotaku. And why not? That actually happened and it's something I think gamers would get a nice little kick out of while attempting to read their blog.

However, I highly doubt the suits at Capcom would appreciate a site they're currently sponsoring/presenting bringing their own boneheaded gaffes to light to the readers they're trying to market and sell games to.

This industry, like most, is all about money. Nothing will ever change for these sites while they're in the pockets of the companies they're suppose to be reporting on. The balance of power is far too one sided to ever change that. And that's really the sad part of all of this when these situations arise every few weeks.
 
Nov 17, 2005
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Shouldn't you contact Play.com to check your facts[...]?
He did.
Just so you know, my standard operating procedure is to make it very clear when something is an unconfirmed rumor (as I did in the post) and to contact all related companies for comment (as I did this morning). Since the listings look legitimate, the timing seems to match with Sony's big Vita announcement plans on Friday, and none of the games seem particularly farfetched, I had no problem running this rumor as is.
 
Jul 7, 2011
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Awww, I want to write in games when I finish (I'm actually studying Journalism on my course now haha), you guys getting me all down.

:p But nah, I completely agree that a lot of sites need to step it up. As a reader/video game fan, there is a lot of good stuff out there that serves a purpose - but unfortunately it seems to be a lot of "in a statement to [earlier source here]" and PR write ups.
But there's a huge difference between reporting and digging for leads on interesting stories, or doing engaging write-ups...and simply being indirectly paid employees of the PR/biz grapevine. What we have now isn't "journalism" in a professional/traditional sense, it's largely commercialized and under scrutinized glorification of the "industry" and "what can we report sooner than X or Y, regardless of fact". Where hits and traffic are more appreciated over substantive fact and cross references, and that "news" is put out there for expediency of the moment regardless of their immediate and long term credibility. That totally flies in the face of what "journalism" should be and is. Nevermind journalistic integrity, where's the actual journalism?

And if we need more proof on who these outlets ultimately pander to, take a look at the media coverage of the RROD scandels and the PS3 hacking scandels. Compared to the gravity of what was going on, they choose to report on other things rather than focus the laser on those issues. In respect to the PS3 hacking stuff they hardlly reported at all despite it being a international issue as well as a legal and cultural issue, where was the integrity of the journalism community then, as they instead did podcasts and reported heavily on other things? And while all media is guilty of this to some degree, the gaming media has consistently dropped the ball on credibility and who and where they choose to report.
 
Oct 2, 2010
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Lol

eurogamer interview with Shafer on Kickstarter game: Here's Quote:

"That's going to be the headline isn't it? Schafer's new chinchilla snuff film. That's going to be the thing that Kotaku extracts from the article and links to. Great. I can't wait to see the photoshopped picture of me killing a chinchilla."
 
Jan 28, 2007
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I think it was the kinect, either the name or it itself.
I'm not sure what it was. It might have been Natal / Kinect, but it may also have been this story.

At any rate, Kotaku wasn't supposed to report on whatever it was, did it anyway, citing a responsibility of informing consumers about stuff, and that got the site unbanned.



So if I read comments and browse gaf / 4chan I can get a job as a games journalist? Why am I in university again?

I think I just realized that Gaf probably provides more news than some of these sites do.
most gaming enthousiasts do not have university education at all. However, the large amount of amateurs and pro's available make sure you have either no chance in hell of getting in or you'ld be doing it for almost free.

It's not a very fun job, I'ld imagine. Despite the whole image that is maintained.
 
Jan 6, 2011
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Oh man, apparently I am today's NeoGAF punching bag.

Okay - let me address this one more time before I get back to work. When I see a rumor, it seems plausible to me, and I feel as if our readers would want to hear it, I'll do several things:

1. Contact all of the companies involved.
2. Do as much research into the story as possible.
3. Make it clear that what I'm reporting is an unverified rumor.

After doing all of those things, if I still feel that the rumor is plausible, I'll post the story. As I did in this case. As more information becomes available, I'll update the story accordingly. As I did in this case. (In case you didn't notice, both Sony and Square Enix responded with a resounding "no comment." Other companies didn't respond.)

Now, I sure hope this doesn't turn out to be fake, both because I don't want to be wrong and because I really want a Vita version of Type-0, but if it is, so be it. I've been wrong before. I'll be wrong again. I hate being wrong as much as anyone would, but it happens. We live in a world where publishers are excruciatingly tightlipped and Internet denizens with lots of spare time like to make things up. All I can do is follow my instincts and do my best to make sure everything I'm reporting is accurate. And when it isn't, all I can do is hold myself accountable for my mistakes and do my best to correct them as quickly and as clearly as possible.