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Games Journalism! Wainwright/Florence/Tomb Raider/Eurogamer/Libel Threats/Doritos

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Dr Dogg

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Phew that was a long read.

Saw Rab's post over at Eurogamer and felt it reflected his stance on the modern gaming press that he shared in an episode of VideoGaiden.

So even after a few days since the debacle it seams every article I have read I have been scrutinising when this gem popped up

http://pikigeek.com/2012/04/30/editorial-on-crytek-opinions-and-official-statements/

I can remember seeing the CVG headline popping up on google at the time and thought "More sensationalist rubbish" but after reading the article over at Piki Geek was very surprised to see the avatar of the 1st commentator is someone with a striking resemblance to one Lauren Wainwright and funnily enough called Lauren also. Yet another hint that this might be the one and the same Lauren is her comment its self.

Lauren said:
This is how the journalism industry works sadly. It’s done all the time in all different journalism sectors.

Thing is journalism is a buisiness. People like to pretend that it’s not but the most important thing is page views and sponsorship deals. Without them you make no money and can’t pay your writers or host your website.

Also when someone is being interviewed they are still speaking on behalf o their company. Journalists aren’t just going to their houses and asking them questions about that person. It’s about the game and/or company. They have every right to attribute quotes to the company because of the way interviews are set up.
Now in my experience, employed as a news room editor and compliance officer for several trade publications for 7 years, that if you think journalism is a "business" and not a practice then you're essentially no more than a glorified copy typist or "advertising sales executive" (and I've seen enough Press Releases in my years that are absolute tripe but published happily if the right 'arrangements' are met).

My interest in games reporting and journalism died when Amiga Power closed its doors
 

s_mirage

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Im guessing he is implying that Square-Enix or some higher up from MCV is involved in this, right?
He definitely seems to be implying that some person or persons involved in the PR side of things had enough clout to pressurise Eurogamer, and assumedly went above Tom Bramwell to get their way. That's how it reads to me anyway, but I do wish he'd name names if he can as nothing will change unless the real puppetmasters are shamed and exposed.
 

endresults

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I'm following this thread until Wainwright is released/fired/quits her job as well. Blood for blood. Rab had every right to suggest that it APPEARED that some tomfoolery MAY have been afoot.

I've been waiting for some clarification on the differences between US and UK law regarding libel. Otherwise, this has been the best source of information on the whole situation out there.
 

Kai Dracon

Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
Jun 7, 2004
19,552
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Only thing I can think to remark on here, is re: gaming journos being manipulated by PR people.

I do recall hearing from someone who went to an EA sponsored event that the room full of PR handlers basically foisted themselves on the game journalists invited. Did everything they could to become instant Facebook and email friends, and made a big deal about pretending to NOT talk about their job. The PR agents acted like "one of the boys" and as if they too were just passive observers there, in the same boat as the journos.

Take it as you will.
 

kodt

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Dec 10, 2008
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He posted evidence that would suggest named journalists were "corrupt". And the result was the internet mobs thought they were corrupt.

Yes, Lauren's actions amplified this no doubt.

I'm not sure what he thought would happen by calling them out in public, even if he point was completely well intentioned as a wake up call to the gaming journalism industry he probably should have avoided naming names to avoid an internet witch hunt.

He could have probably expressed his point better in the original article. Or maybe even contacted the people he named for a comment?
 

SolidSnakex

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I'm following this thread until Wainwright is released/fired/quits her job as well. Blood for blood. Rab had every right to suggest that it APPEARED that some tomfoolery MAY have been afoot.
The only way that she's going to be fired is if this story becomes much bigger. Right now it's just something that's being discussed on forums and on smaller blogs.
 

JABEE

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It's a damn shame that IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, Kotaku, and Joystiq don't have the courage to cover this story.

TechCrunch even wrote about it.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/26/video-game-journalist-out-of-a-job-for-calling-out-dead-eyed-dorito-hoarding-journalists/

The problem here, and I believe it has petered-out slightly in “gadgets journalism” of which I’ve been a long-time practitioner (or maybe I just refuse to go to events anymore), is that this buddy-buddy, gone native approach to journalism sours the whole thing in many industries. In games journalism when every new title gets 8 out of 10 because, if it doesn’t, the marketing people won’t invite folks to the next great outing to Germany where they can retrace the steps of the in-game characters (that, details omitted, happened), then we’re no longer talking about game journalism, we’re talking about folks who like frequent flier miles.

This comes up a lot for me in watch writing as well which is another industry slowly beginning to understand electronic media. I run a podcast and a website but I rarely, if ever, go to industry events and at this point in the game I’m very picky about which watches I’ll review and return. However, in order to appease the mercurial Sun Kings of watch and games and (less so) gadget journalism, writers must bow and scrape to get access, screenshots, and product. Game journalism in particular is all about digital so journalists at “smaller” sites may feel that they need to be as friendly as possible just to get an E3 appointment.
I think as an outsider they did a pretty good job of talking about it from a tech journalist's point of view.
 
Jun 4, 2009
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Only thing I can think to remark on here, is re: gaming journos being manipulated by PR people.

I do recall hearing from someone who went to an EA sponsored event that the room full of PR handlers basically foisted themselves on the game journalists invited. Did everything they could to become instant Facebook and email friends, and made a big deal about pretending to NOT talk about their job. The PR agents acted like "one of the boys" and as if they too were just passive observers there, in the same boat as the journos.

Take it as you will.
I don't know. That's the entire goal of public relations, to ingratiate oneself to those whose opinions can be heard, no? I can't fault them for that. Who I can fault are the writers who are expected to have opinions of their own and fall for this treatment hook, line and sinker. They don't have any respect for themselves or the work they claim they do if they constantly accept these trips/swag/free games. It's a two-way street.
 

endresults

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The only way that she's going to be fired is if this story becomes much bigger. Right now it's just something that's being discussed on forums and on smaller blogs.
I would be shocked if this hasn't been discussed among every gaming journalist/blogger/enthusiast/PR rep out there, or have at the very least heard about it and formed their own opinion.

I have a feeling the larger publications have been following it but don't want to shit where they eat.
 

Dabanton

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It's a damn shame that IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, Kotaku, and Joystiq don't have the courage to cover this story.
It's stands out doesn't it.

Have any of them even uttered a word about this whole affair? Really puts it into perspective.
 

Orca

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It's a damn shame that IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, Kotaku, and Joystiq don't have the courage to cover this story.

TechCrunch even wrote about it.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/26/video-game-journalist-out-of-a-job-for-calling-out-dead-eyed-dorito-hoarding-journalists/



I think as an outsider they did a pretty good job of talking about it from a tech journalist's point of view.
I can't imagine IGN touching on it. The first reply would probably be a link to the video they put up of the trip multiple IGN staffers went on to Hawaii to 'review' DoA Beach Volleyball.
 

AkuMifune

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Dec 23, 2007
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It's a damn shame that IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, Kotaku, and Joystiq don't have the courage to cover this story.
This should be your barometer for which sites actually employ game journalists and which only pretend to. Which is why all this Polygon talk of bringing something new to the table is such a joke.
 

funkystudent

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Apr 3, 2010
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I think the best move right now would be for Lauren to come out of internet exile and make a statement.

She will have to face this head on eventually if she doesn't want internet dirt bags crapping up every story she writes for the next 10 years.

Just get advice on what to say from someone other then the dumbass who told you to play the labial card.

Maybe wait until next week after the internet flames have cooled slightly.

Maybe switch from your journalism degree to PR and stop pretending.... Heck there is more money and more stability in PR anyway.
 
Jan 12, 2007
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So even after a few days since the debacle it seams every article I have read I have been scrutinising when this gem popped up

http://pikigeek.com/2012/04/30/editorial-on-crytek-opinions-and-official-statements/
Lauren Wainwright:
"This is how the journalism industry works sadly. It’s done all the time in all different journalism sectors.

Thing is journalism is a buisiness. People like to pretend that it’s not but the most important thing is page views and sponsorship deals. Without them you make no money and can’t pay your writers or host your website.

Also when someone is being interviewed they are still speaking on behalf o their company. Journalists aren’t just going to their houses and asking them questions about that person. It’s about the game and/or company. They have every right to attribute quotes to the company because of the way interviews are set up."​

Err... wow. See, this is the shit I'm talking about.
 

Osiris

I permanently banned my 6 year old daughter from using the PS4 for mistakenly sending grief reports as it's too hard to watch or talk to her
Jul 23, 2010
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I think the best move right now would be for Lauren to come out of internet exile and make a statement.

She will have to face this head on eventually if she doesn't want internet dirt bags crapping up every story she writes for the next 10 years.

Just get advice on what to say from someone other then the dumbass who told you to play the labial card.

Maybe wait until next week after the internet flames have cooled slightly.
Oh what an awesome typo!

(Please tell me it was a typo)
 

Jackben

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"This is how the journalism industry works sadly. It’s done all the time in all different journalism sectors.

Thing is journalism is a buisiness. People like to pretend that it’s not but the most important thing is page views and sponsorship deals. Without them you make no money and can’t pay your writers or host your website.

Also when someone is being interviewed they are still speaking on behalf o their company. Journalists aren’t just going to their houses and asking them questions about that person. It’s about the game and/or company. They have every right to attribute quotes to the company because of the way interviews are set up."​


Err... wow.
Wainwright actually posted that? It would just be the cherry on top for all of her actions so far. Is such hypocrisy even possible?
 

SolidSnakex

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I would be shocked if this hasn't been discussed among every gaming journalist/blogger/enthusiast/PR rep out there, or have at the very least heard about it and formed their own opinion.

I have a feeling the larger publications have been following it but don't want to shit where they eat.
There's the problem that Rab has been trying to make. In order for any major site to touch this story they're going to have to have to step on toes. And we've already seen one guy say that he's not willing to do that because he's friends with those involved.
 

NoirVisage

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He posted evidence that would suggest named journalists were "corrupt". And the result was the internet mobs thought they were corrupt.

Yes, Lauren's actions amplified this no doubt.

I'm not sure what he thought would happen by calling them out in public, even if he point was completely well intentioned as a wake up call to the gaming journalism industry he probably should have avoided naming names to avoid an internet witch hunt.

He could have probably expressed his point better in the original article. Or maybe even contacted the people he named for a comment?
this.. so this..
especially the last point..

the fact is, dude was told to write an article about Geoff Keighly surrounded by junk food, and goes off on an unrelated tangent, then brings it back to Geoff Keighly.. should have just posted it on Gaf, not dragged Eurogamer into it.
 

grimshawish

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"This is how the journalism industry works sadly. It’s done all the time in all different journalism sectors.

Thing is journalism is a buisiness. People like to pretend that it’s not but the most important thing is page views and sponsorship deals. Without them you make no money and can’t pay your writers or host your website.

Also when someone is being interviewed they are still speaking on behalf o their company. Journalists aren’t just going to their houses and asking them questions about that person. It’s about the game and/or company. They have every right to attribute quotes to the company because of the way interviews are set up." - Lauren Wainwright.​

Err... wow. See, this is the shit I'm talking about.
Shes incredibly naive and has built a right big pedestal for herself. It just collapsed.
Her last comment is right however; agency laws and all that the employee by being put there by the employer is responding for the employer - thats their job and thus the organisation is making those comments.
 

Gomu Gomu

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Lauren Wainwright:
"This is how the journalism industry works sadly. It’s done all the time in all different journalism sectors.

Thing is journalism is a buisiness. People like to pretend that it’s not but the most important thing is page views and sponsorship deals. Without them you make no money and can’t pay your writers or host your website.

Also when someone is being interviewed they are still speaking on behalf o their company. Journalists aren’t just going to their houses and asking them questions about that person. It’s about the game and/or company. They have every right to attribute quotes to the company because of the way interviews are set up."​

Err... wow. See, this is the shit I'm talking about.
Where is this from?
 

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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He posted evidence that would suggest named journalists were "corrupt". And the result was the internet mobs thought they were corrupt.

Yes, Lauren's actions amplified this no doubt.

I'm not sure what he thought would happen by calling them out in public, even if he point was completely well intentioned as a wake up call to the gaming journalism industry he probably should have avoided naming names to avoid an internet witch hunt.

He could have probably expressed his point better in the original article. Or maybe even contacted the people he named for a comment?
It's not evidence - it's publically available empirical data that corroborates the statement 'game journalists are unaware of the line between PR and journalism'.

this.. so this..
especially the last point..

the fact is, dude was told to write an article about Geoff Keighly surrounded by junk food, and goes off on an unrelated tangent, then brings it back to Geoff Keighly.. should have just posted it on Gaf, not dragged Eurogamer into it.
So you are not used to articles that start off and end up with an example to motivate the writer's line of thought? DoritoDew-Geoff was used to highlight the entire point of the article: the unreflected blurring between PR and journalism.
 

s_mirage

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I've been waiting for some clarification on the differences between US and UK law regarding libel. Otherwise, this has been the best source of information on the whole situation out there.
I don't have the knowledge to give a good breakdown of the differences but the main issue with regards to UK libel law is that it basically assumes guilt. The onus is on the defendant to prove that their statements were true, and therein lies the problem: virtually any claim of libel can get to court, so defending any accusation of libel will therefore incur legal costs. I don't believe that this is true in the US and, unlike the UK, free speech is protected under the first amendment, AFAIK making it much harder for the plaintiff to pursue any kind of defamation case without proof of blatant falsehood and damage being caused.
 

Dabanton

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This should be your barometer for which sites actually employ game journalists and which only pretend to. Which is why all this Polygon talk of bringing something new to the table is such a joke.
The real shame is people on forums will still actually take their reviews seriously.

And explode in rage if AAA game 2 doesn't get an 8 or above. It's all just one big sad roundabout.

Any website who has declined to talk abut this should tell us all we need to know they'll be quick to post up rubbish but for some reason they can't spare even a paragraph on this matter that affects the industry from top to bottom. The silence from certain quarters of the US game press is deafening
 

JABEE

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There's the problem that Rab has been trying to make. In order for any major site to touch this story they're going to have to have to step on toes. And we've already seen one guy say that he's not willing to do that because he's friends with those involved.
And this story will die out and not a damn thing will change. "Journalists" will say hollow words about this being a good thing to think about for the industry, but will do nothing to institute or consider real change. The silence of the mainline sites with no indication that they will be covering or doing any kind of independent research or reporting on this news is disturbing, and at the same time unsurprising.

You have to name "names and names" if you want to push people out of their comfort zone and show the real danger of participating and sometimes relishing in these PR games. The idea that this is something that we should just "move on" from is a terrible attitude. This is usually the response of many organization when wide-spread corruption is exposed or people's perceived view of world has been interrupted by a great deal of dissonance.
 

Osiris

I permanently banned my 6 year old daughter from using the PS4 for mistakenly sending grief reports as it's too hard to watch or talk to her
Jul 23, 2010
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There's the problem that Rab has been trying to make. In order for any major site to touch this story they're going to have to have to step on toes. And we've already seen one guy say that he's not willing to do that because he's friends with those involved.
It's more than just touching this story though, it's about confronting this entire culture of incest between PR and the gaming press, other than a few seasoned cynics no-ones going to have the balls to face this issue head on.

Rather they will wait for it to blow over, wipe their brow and continue as if nothing happened, until the next incident leads to the self-same individuals feigning indignation that it's all a storm in a tea-cup, now... move on...

They fail to see that it is an issue, the consumers of gaming press is collectively getting older, more discerning and increasingly more cynical and cognizant of the media they consume, and whilst Rome burns (or rather smoulders), the little Caesars continue to fiddle, either ignorantly, or willfully oblivious.
 

Gomu Gomu

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It's not evidence - it's publically available empirical data that corroborates the statement 'game journalists are unaware of the line between PR and journalism'.



So you are not used to articles that start off and end up with an example to motivate the writer's line of thought? DoritoDew-Geoff was used to highlight the entire point of the article: the unreflected blurring between PR and journalism.
Just don't.... People have been replaying to their posts trying to tell them that they missed the point of the article for two pages now. They don't know what they're talking about. Maybe if they read the thread more it would be clear for them. But until then, just don't bother.
 

Rufus

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I don't know. That's the entire goal of public relations, to ingratiate oneself to those whose opinions can be heard, no? I can't fault them for that. Who I can fault are the writers who are expected to have opinions of their own and fall for this treatment hook, line and sinker. They don't have any respect for themselves or the work they claim they do if they constantly accept these trips/swag/free games. It's a two-way street.
If Wainwright is anything to go by, this generation of writers seems to have all but accepted the way of thinking that you need to play nice if you want to get anywhere and that it's a temporary occupation used as a springboard into the industry proper.
 

Kai Dracon

Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
Jun 7, 2004
19,552
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I don't know. That's the entire goal of public relations, to ingratiate oneself to those whose opinions can be heard, no? I can't fault them for that. Who I can fault are the writers who are expected to have opinions of their own and fall for this treatment hook, line and sinker. They don't have any respect for themselves or the work they claim they do if they constantly accept these trips/swag/free games. It's a two-way street.
I agree it's a grey area, and also agree with the video blog a few pages back from the guy working with Square Eidos that the entire situation is kind of compromised.

I suppose, the way I'd take stories like the above is that it seems likely PR people even if just doing their job, have to know how inexperienced and malleable so many of the gaming press people they get are. One of the other remarks I hear from time to time is about the churn in games journalism and how anyone with any real experience always seems surrounded by a bunch of kids who seem as if they were just recruited straight from a blog about how awesome Call of Duty is.

One side remark: having been around this a long time, I've always though the general situation with games journalism is partly a holdover from the early game industry. There were some practical concerns in the past that resulted in special situations.

When someone reviews a movie on opening week, or writes a book review, traditionally they can remain very distanced and separated from the mechanisms that produced the work they're writing about. Ideally they can approach it like any person off the street.

Way back when, the difficulties and time involved with game development, and game magazine lead times, seemed to organically evolve a situation where game publishers had their PR and even development arms intertwined to a degree with the print magazines. In order to get your write up, article, or review into the appropriate issue, the journalist / reviewer had to be given advance copies of software. And much of the time those weren't retail products. They were pre-gold "reviewable" code, that was promised to be a fair look at the final product.

And that was the origin of "borderline bribery" like the idea reviewers all get "free games".

Just seems to be that game journalists have never worked with the industry in the same way writers for other mediums interact in their venue. Of course, that would also provide game publishers with an unusual situation they could work at exploiting.
 

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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Lauren Wainwright:
"This is how the journalism industry works sadly. It’s done all the time in all different journalism sectors.

Thing is journalism is a buisiness. People like to pretend that it’s not but the most important thing is page views and sponsorship deals. Without them you make no money and can’t pay your writers or host your website.

Also when someone is being interviewed they are still speaking on behalf o their company. Journalists aren’t just going to their houses and asking them questions about that person. It’s about the game and/or company. They have every right to attribute quotes to the company because of the way interviews are set up."​

Err... wow. See, this is the shit I'm talking about.
"It's a business, we have to make money, so of course it's okay to lie and deceit."
 

kodt

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Dec 10, 2008
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It's not evidence - it's publically available empirical data that corroborates the statement 'game journalists are unaware of the line between PR and journalism'.
And that empirical data suggests that these journalists are crossing that line, and by doing so it looks bad, and by looking bad it suggests that they are PR shills.
 

Dabanton

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May 25, 2007
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Where is this from?
http://pikigeek.com/2012/04/30/editorial-on-crytek-opinions-and-official-statements/

Seems she forgot to remove that one.

Also can people stop calling her naive. She's not some young reporter starting out she has been doing this for a while. I mean read that quote from her

"This is how the journalism industry works sadly. It’s done all the time in all different journalism sectors.

Thing is journalism is a buisiness. People like to pretend that it’s not but the most important thing is page views and sponsorship deals. Without them you make no money and can’t pay your writers or host your website.

Also when someone is being interviewed they are still speaking on behalf o their company. Journalists aren’t just going to their houses and asking them questions about that person. It’s about the game and/or company. They have every right to attribute quotes to the company because of the way interviews are set up."
That's someone who's pretty hardened to the way things work.
 

endresults

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I don't have the knowledge to give a good breakdown of the differences but the main issue with regards to UK libel law is that it basically assumes guilt. The onus is on the defendant to prove that their statements were true, and therein lies the problem: virtually any claim of libel can get to court, so defending any accusation of libel will therefore incur legal costs. I don't believe that this is true in the US and, unlike the UK, free speech is protected under the first amendment, AFAIK making it much harder for the plaintiff to pursue any kind of defamation case without proof of blatant falsehood and damage being caused.
Interesting stuff. In the US, this would be nothing more than a SLAPP suit if it went any further than an idle threat.
 

NoirVisage

Banned
Sep 12, 2011
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It's not evidence - it's publically available empirical data that corroborates the statement 'game journalists are unaware of the line between PR and journalism'.



So you are not used to articles that start off and end up with an example to motivate the writer's line of thought? DoritoDew-Geoff was used to highlight the entire point of the article: the unreflected blurring between PR and journalism.
What is Geoff Keighly.. other than a Muffin i mean?
 

Gomu Gomu

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Jul 16, 2008
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Also can people stop calling her naive. She's not some young reporter starting out she has been doing this for a while. I mean read that quote from her

That's someone who's pretty hardened to the way things work.
Damn. I was thinking she was just doing what she thought was cool. You know, "Hey how awesome am I? going on trips and meeting PR people and previewing games", and that she didn't realize that she was being manipulated by the PR for their own good. I guess I was dead wrong.
 

Parallacs

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Mar 14, 2012
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It's a damn shame that IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, Kotaku, and Joystiq don't have the courage to cover this story.

TechCrunch even wrote about it.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/26/video-game-journalist-out-of-a-job-for-calling-out-dead-eyed-dorito-hoarding-journalists/



I think as an outsider they did a pretty good job of talking about it from a tech journalist's point of view.
I have a feeling Penny Arcade will come down hard on the issue over the next few days. They are NOT games journalists but they do like to argue and with a huge fanbase, they certainly have sway in the industry.

This has been a fascinating thread and eats away at my Friday hours. Continue!
 
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