• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

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

Status
Not open for further replies.

I'm an expert

Formerly worldrevolution. The only reason I am nice to anyone else is to avoid being banned.
Nov 26, 2008
13,783
4
800
Damn.. don't get more shameless than N'gai.
 

Ledsen

Member
Mar 25, 2007
12,259
2
0
Sweden
Thanks Festwill!

Original post:

I'd love for someone to maintain a list of all the great replies and arguments in this thread by people who know what they're talking about. That way they won't get lost in the shuffle. I don't want to usurp these people's posts and use them as ammo in a shit-flinging contest, but simply keep them easily accessible since they're very much worth reading for anyone involved in the discussion.

I'll start, point me towards posts and I'll add them:
and list:

Relevant links
Wings over Sealand articles (second article has summary) 1 2
John Walker's (Rock Paper Shotgun) blog

GAF posts
Shawn Elliot 1 (aegies is Arthur Gies of polygon.com) 2 3 4
Jeff Green
ShockingAlberto
 

jschreier

Member
Jan 6, 2011
4,045
0
0
www.twitter.com
I've been avoiding most of this conversation because talking about games and the people behind them is more interesting than talking about press, and the issues here are pretty clearly gross. Advertising a game on your Twitter feed for a PS3 is not OK. Consulting for a game company that you also write about (without even disclosing your relationship) is very, very, very not OK.

But there's a lot of generalization and condemnation in this thread. It might be easy to paint one clear picture in your head of everyone in video game journalism as a corrupt hypocrite, but there are hundreds of working journalists in gaming, each with his or her own standards, ethical limits, and practices.

For example, some people might see it as OK to accept a trip from a publisher - I don't. (And Kotaku has an anti-press junket policy, as do quite a few other publications/websites.)

But some people might also see it as not OK to eat lunch at a press event - I have no problem with that. Lunch is lunch. If you disagree with me, that's OK too. Personal limits are a big part of being a reporter, in any field.

Point is: it's unfair to dismiss all of game journalism as corrupt because of incidents like this, or because some people have different standards than others, or because some people believe that some compromises are OK. Just like how it'd be unfair to look at this thread and say "Wow, GAF is a bunch of generalizing assholes." See what I'm saying?
 

conman

Member
Aug 12, 2007
4,591
0
0
Is he delusional? I thought he left games anyways. Why is he even weighing in and why would anyone care?
His job now (as someone who runs a game development consulting firm) is to tell developers what Metacritic average they can expect based on a game's current state. It's his job to be very well connected to press, PR, publishing, and development. So... people care.

Sucks to see him acting like this. I always respected him, and he was always willing to say unpopular things if it meant being reasonable and right. I guess he's now just so far in that he can't see the forest for the trees.
 

I'm an expert

Formerly worldrevolution. The only reason I am nice to anyone else is to avoid being banned.
Nov 26, 2008
13,783
4
800
I've been avoiding most of this conversation because talking about games and the people behind them is more interesting than talking about press, and the issues here are pretty clearly gross. Advertising a game on your Twitter feed for a PS3 is not OK. Consulting for a game company that you also write about (without even disclosing your relationship) is very, very, very not OK.

But there's a lot of generalization and condemnation in this thread. It might be easy to paint one clear picture in your head of everyone in video game journalism as a corrupt hypocrite, but there are hundreds of working journalists in gaming, each with his or her own standards, ethical limits, and practices.

For example, some people might see it as OK to accept a trip from a publisher - I don't. (And Kotaku has an anti-press junket policy, as do quite a few other publications/websites.)

But some people might also see it as not OK to eat lunch at a press event - I have no problem with that. Lunch is lunch. If you disagree with me, that's OK too. Personal limits are a big part of being a reporter, in any field.

Point is: it's unfair to dismiss all of game journalism as corrupt because of incidents like this, or because some people have different standards than others, or because some people believe that some compromises are OK. Just like how it'd be unfair to look at this thread and say "Wow, GAF is a bunch of generalizing assholes." See what I'm saying?
I predicted this exact statement in the Giant Bomb thread. We ain't gonna stop talkin about it, or that circle jerk you, N'gai, and the others are having. Stop fuckin avoiding it and face it.

And, in my humble, customer/viewer opinion, going out to eat/socialize with PR people is NOT ok.
 

Victrix

*beard*
Sep 1, 2005
7,657
0
0
But there's a lot of generalization and condemnation in this thread. It might be easy to paint one clear picture in your head of everyone in video game journalism as a corrupt hypocrite, but there are hundreds of working journalists in gaming, each with his or her own standards, ethical limits, and practices.

Point is: it's unfair to dismiss all of game journalism as corrupt because of incidents like this, or because some people have different standards than others, or because some people believe that some compromises are OK. Just like how it'd be unfair to look at this thread and say "Wow, GAF is a bunch of generalizing assholes." See what I'm saying?
I agree with you in theory, in practice I'm too lazy to figure out which sites/writers/etc are corrupt and which aren't.

When the barrier of entry to games journalism is a blog and a copy of a game, it's not worth my time to root out the good ones (and I actually care about this stuff, imagine John Q Consumer!)

So I stick with forums, where the bought posters are at least funnier.

Unfair? Yes. But there have been wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too many incidents over the years for me to extend trust automatically, and there is so much easily accessible information out there that I don't need specific sites or writers to draw the correct conclusions about a game before picking it up or skipping it.
 

lednerg

Member
Feb 27, 2006
8,160
0
0
NJ
Pro-tip: You cannot remove the perception of impropriety by mocking the people who point it out. Strange, but true.
 

conman

Member
Aug 12, 2007
4,591
0
0
Point is: it's unfair to dismiss all of game journalism as corrupt because of incidents like this
I would agree if the press weren't almost universally silent on this whole mess. But many of us can't help but see your collective silence as tantamount to an admission of guilt. Say something, for crying out loud. There's an 800lb gorilla in the room, and you're leaving those of us standing on the other side of the door to talk about it.
 

EternalGamer

Banned
Nov 6, 2006
4,455
0
0
Originally Posted by JABEE:
http://www.twitch.tv/gamespot

ugh!
Pretty girl + "TIME'S RUNNING OUT!" + "How much would YOU pay?". Holy shit that is some QVC shit.

This is the first episode too. Amazon have terrible timing this week.
I am not trying to overindulge in schadenfraude but that video is one of the funniest things I have seen in quite a while. It is a perfect unintentional parody of what is wrong with games media.
 

I'm an expert

Formerly worldrevolution. The only reason I am nice to anyone else is to avoid being banned.
Nov 26, 2008
13,783
4
800
I would agree if the press weren't almost universally silent on this whole mess. But many of us can't help but see their silence as tantamount to an admission of guilt.
Because they'd rather avoid it and talk about video games not people writing about video games.
 

Freshmaker

I am Korean.
Jul 29, 2005
22,162
6
1,310
I don't know about that -- in fact, I totally disagree. That's certainly not in academic circles, at least. The work of people like George Plimpton is taken seriously.
The journalists I know hated covering sports and were happy to get into other beats ASAP.
 

Syriel

Member
Sep 21, 2009
9,620
1
905
Its tipical for writers with a past background that doesnt involve gaming to come in and embarass the rest of them with their quality writing and "ethics". Kinda embarrasing how this has being ignored by some american sites, you would think by their silence that there are also libel laws on the states.
Libel/slander laws in the US are pretty good. Basically truth is the ultimate defense. If it's true, you can say it. And while a lawsuit can still be filed, if you file a false suit then you're potentially liable for all costs/fees involved.

Basically, unless it's an actual case of libel/slander, suing is an incredibly stupid thing to do in the US.

Her friendship with a PR person is no different from the rest of the industry. Fact is theres no journalistic integrity in the gaming circle. Whatsoever, its cut throat against anyone who speaks out; silencing people who want to change things; whilst also ignoring the ideas of journalism and integrity.
By her own words Wainwright also worked in PR. This is from two years ago:

http://gamersspeak.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/gamer-lauren-wainwright/

Q1. Who the hell are you and what do you do?

Lauren Wainwright – I’m Lauren Wainwright, that’s who! I study (BA) Games Culture and Journalism at London Metropolitan as well as work as a freelance games writer for several publications. I blog about games and I’ve also dabbled in games PR.


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.
As noted above, libel/slander laws in the US are notably different than in the UK. Any US outlet that published Rab's original piece would have basically laughed in the face of anyone who made a threat to sue over it.

In fact, for some US states (including CA where much of the gaming press is based) a threat to file such a suit could result in an anti-SLAPP suit which also carries damages. Just threatening to sue someone in order to shut them up (when they're speaking the truth) is considered a big no-no in the US. You don't do that shit with impunity.
 

jschreier

Member
Jan 6, 2011
4,045
0
0
www.twitter.com
I predicted this exact statement in the Giant Bomb thread. We ain't gonna stop talkin about it, or that circle jerk you, N'gai, and the others are having. Stop fuckin avoiding it and face it.

And, in my humble, customer/viewer opinion, going out to eat/socialize with PR people is NOT ok.
Circle jerk? This is my contribution to the circle jerk: https://twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/261537033577713664

And you misunderstand me: I don't think it's a bad thing that you guys are talking about it. It's an important issue and it's never a bad thing for readers to want to keep press honest. I just have very little personal interest in talking about these things nowadays - I'd rather spend my time talking about games, and talking to the people who make games, you know? I prefer to keep the story about them, not me.
 

Lunar15

Member
Jun 15, 2011
18,570
0
0
I've found all of this fascinating, and in many places disgusting. I fully agree that a lot of the PR fueled giveaways to writers is often times ridiculous, and those that take it definitely lack integrity.

However, I have seen some more... interesting... opinions flying around about paid advertising influencing reviews, and I'd like to have a say on it.

Full Disclosure: I work at a company that represents a bunch of gaming websites and sells their ad space. Never once in the time that I've worked there has any of our ad sales ever affected review content. I don't even think most of the writers we work with even know what's running on the site at any time. At the most, sometimes an advertiser will want to sponsor advertising on articles about a specific topic, but they still don't influence what's written. We've also never had an advertiser or an agency threaten to remove any website due to anything written in an editorial or review.

This is why I don't have a huge problem with Geoff being surrounded by doritos and mt dew. Is it embarassing? Yes. Professional, probably not the most. But since it wasn't a review, and the interview in the video was actually ABOUT the mt. dew double xp program, I don't quite see why this is an issue. Of course, I do not know the full extent behind that deal. I don't know how GameTrailers does deals with their advertisers, but I can't see it being that incredibly different.

The stuff like the free PS3's for Hashtags DOES irk me though, and I really hate seeing it. That does undermine the journalistic integrity of sites, and it bodes ill for the industry as a whole. I just wanted to give my take on this, because I don't like seeing on site advertising getting lumped into this. No one jumps down ESPN's throat because today's monday night football is sponsored by Arby's.
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
35,737
0
0
It's N'gai: Yes, yes he can be that dense.
That kind of response isn't really characteristic of what I've heard from him on podcasts. His twitter responses are little more than deflection. He must smell the sharks circling.

On one hand, the video game industry is a really tight knit one. These types of conflict of interest issues are almost inevitable. On the other hand, I think people deserve a well thought out response that considers both sides and not a flippant one given offhandedly.
 

B-Dex

Member
Dec 29, 2008
10,449
0
0
Vancouver, BC
I've been avoiding most of this conversation because talking about games and the people behind them is more interesting than talking about press, and the issues here are pretty clearly gross. Advertising a game on your Twitter feed for a PS3 is not OK. Consulting for a game company that you also write about (without even disclosing your relationship) is very, very, very not OK.

But there's a lot of generalization and condemnation in this thread. It might be easy to paint one clear picture in your head of everyone in video game journalism as a corrupt hypocrite, but there are hundreds of working journalists in gaming, each with his or her own standards, ethical limits, and practices.

For example, some people might see it as OK to accept a trip from a publisher - I don't. (And Kotaku has an anti-press junket policy, as do quite a few other publications/websites.)

But some people might also see it as not OK to eat lunch at a press event - I have no problem with that. Lunch is lunch. If you disagree with me, that's OK too. Personal limits are a big part of being a reporter, in any field.

Point is: it's unfair to dismiss all of game journalism as corrupt because of incidents like this, or because some people have different standards than others, or because some people believe that some compromises are OK. Just like how it'd be unfair to look at this thread and say "Wow, GAF is a bunch of generalizing assholes." See what I'm saying?
So Kotaku = ethics and journalistic integrity?
 

Ledsen

Member
Mar 25, 2007
12,259
2
0
Sweden
I've been avoiding most of this conversation because talking about games and the people behind them is more interesting than talking about press, and the issues here are pretty clearly gross.
This kind of cop-out is exactly why these problems will never be solved and everything will be back to normal a week from now.
 
Circle jerk? This is my contribution to the circle jerk: https://twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/261537033577713664

And you misunderstand me: I don't think it's a bad thing that you guys are talking about it. It's an important issue and it's never a bad thing for readers to want to keep press honest. I just have very little personal interest in talking about these things nowadays - I'd rather spend my time talking about games, and talking to the people who make games, you know? I prefer to keep the story about them, not me.
You went and made a joke out of it like all the others instead of confronting or commenting on the actual issue at hand.
 

I'm an expert

Formerly worldrevolution. The only reason I am nice to anyone else is to avoid being banned.
Nov 26, 2008
13,783
4
800
Circle jerk? This is my contribution to the circle jerk: https://twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/261537033577713664

And you misunderstand me: I don't think it's a bad thing that you guys are talking about it. It's an important issue and it's never a bad thing for readers to want to keep press honest. I just have very little personal interest in talking about these things nowadays - I'd rather spend my time talking about games, and talking to the people who make games, you know? I prefer to keep the story about them, not me.
"mmm should I e-mail my publicist?"

is not you?
 

jschreier

Member
Jan 6, 2011
4,045
0
0
www.twitter.com
So Kotaku = ethics and journalistic integrity?
Have we done anything to make you believe otherwise?

We make mistakes, that's for sure -- I'm sure lots of you remember that thread about me a few months ago when I made some very stupid mistakes -- but I'm very proud of some rather hardline ethical stances we've taken/continue to take all the time.

No press junkets, for example! If we ever go on a trip, we pay our own way.
 

JABEE

Member
May 19, 2010
44,040
0
645
I would agree if the press weren't almost universally silent on this whole mess. But many of us can't help but see their silence as tantamount to an admission of guilt. Say something, for crying out loud. There's an 800lb gorilla in the room, and they're leaving those of us standing on the other side of the door to talk about it.
It's the same thing that happens with any big controversy. Look at Penn State. It is not on the same level at all, but everyone defending them pointed to one person being the bad guy and how it shouldn't reflect on the entire culture or school. The same comments came from Penn State alums. "We need to move on." Don't wallow in the misery of controversy and rough thoughts. People want change, but no one is willing to stick their neck out, because business is better when the boat is shaking and deliveries are going smoothly.
 

Corto

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,974
0
850
www.neogaf.com
Circle jerk? This is my contribution to the circle jerk: https://twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/261537033577713664

And you misunderstand me: I don't think it's a bad thing that you guys are talking about it. It's an important issue and it's never a bad thing for readers to want to keep press honest. I just have very little personal interest in talking about these things nowadays - I'd rather spend my time talking about games, and talking to the people who make games, you know? I prefer to keep the story about them, not me.
So, what did Obama had to say?
 

conman

Member
Aug 12, 2007
4,591
0
0
Because they'd rather avoid it and talk about video games not people writing about video games.
Except that this goes to the heart of their coverage of video games. If they won't address this, we can't help but question the entire basis of their claims to authority, impartiality, access, etc., etc. This is probably the single-most important thing they could talk about.

Hell, if they would just come out and restate their site's own ethical philosophy and standards. Make it clear we can trust their opinions on games. Otherwise, we're all going elsewhere.
 

EternalGamer

Banned
Nov 6, 2006
4,455
0
0
This is why I don't have a huge problem with Geoff being surrounded by doritos and mt dew. Is it embarassing? Yes. Professional, probably not the most. But since it wasn't a review, and the interview in the video was actually ABOUT the mt. dew double xp program, I don't quite see why this is an issue. Of course, I do not know the full extent behind that deal. I don't know how GameTrailers does deals with their advertisers, but I can't see it being that incredibly different.

The stuff like the free PS3's for Hashtags DOES irk me though, and I really hate seeing it. That does undermine the journalistic integrity of sites, and it bodes ill for the industry as a whole. I just wanted to give my take on this, because I don't like seeing on site advertising getting lumped into this. No one jumps down ESPN's throat because today's monday night football is sponsored by Arby's.
You don't see a problem with an "interview" about Mt. dew and Doritos?! I dont watch sports but I kind of doubt those dudes interview an Arby's Roastbeef sandwich in their sports coverage.

Granted the Keighley pic is pretty minor compared to other stuff being discussed, but that doesnt make it any less ridiculious.
 

B-Dex

Member
Dec 29, 2008
10,449
0
0
Vancouver, BC
Have we done anything to make you believe otherwise?

We make mistakes, that's for sure -- I'm sure lots of you remember that thread about me a few months ago when I made some very stupid mistakes -- but I'm very proud of some rather hardline ethical stances we've taken/continue to take all the time.

No press junkets, for example! If we ever go on a trip, we pay our own way.
So where are the stories about what we're discussing in here? It's a hot-button issue at the moment but mysteriously I see it nowhere on Kotaku. The "Gamer's Guide".
 

Vamphuntr

Member
Dec 5, 2008
13,792
0
0
QC
No, that's just overgeneralization. By your logic, it is impossible to write a negative review/article if the PR gifts/food/whatever was excellent? Because, we've had plenty negatieve reviews about bad games, even if the PR was good. I remember getting a very cool Brink PR package, but that game was awful. Thus it received an awful review. PR gift was cool, but that's it.
The site listed in your profile gave Brink an 81 out of 100.
Cannot stop laughing. Oh man, this thread keeps getting better.
 

Lancehead

Member
Oct 27, 2011
2,788
0
0
Most of my Twitter feed is joking around with people. You don't have to take it so seriously!
Context. The context you were posting that was a group of people that includes press and PR joking about issues raised regarding the propriety of press-PR relationship.
 

Lunar15

Member
Jun 15, 2011
18,570
0
0
You don't see a problem with an "interview" about Mt. dew and Doritos?! I dont watch sports but I kind of doubt those dudes interview an Arby's Roastbeef sandwich in their sports coverage.

Granted the Keighley pic is pretty minor compared to other stuff being discussed, but that doesnt make it any less ridiculious.
Is it ridiculous? Yes. I don't deny that. It looks silly, and it definitely undermines Geoff's supposed "professional demeanor". But it's also a completely different situation than the one that's going on with Lauren Wainwright, and I just wanted to put that out there.
 

Fistwell

Member
Feb 22, 2012
4,637
0
0
So where are the stories about what we're discussing in here? It's a hot-button issue at the moment but mysteriously I see it nowhere on Kotaku. The "Gamer's Guide".
Their readership isn't interested. Only loosely related to games. Ain't got time for this shit.
 

Lime

Member
Apr 27, 2008
26,894
0
0
I've been avoiding most of this conversation because talking about games and the people behind them is more interesting than talking about press, and the issues here are pretty clearly gross. Advertising a game on your Twitter feed for a PS3 is not OK. Consulting for a game company that you also write about (without even disclosing your relationship) is very, very, very not OK.

But there's a lot of generalization and condemnation in this thread. It might be easy to paint one clear picture in your head of everyone in video game journalism as a corrupt hypocrite, but there are hundreds of working journalists in gaming, each with his or her own standards, ethical limits, and practices.

For example, some people might see it as OK to accept a trip from a publisher - I don't. (And Kotaku has an anti-press junket policy, as do quite a few other publications/websites.)

But some people might also see it as not OK to eat lunch at a press event - I have no problem with that. Lunch is lunch. If you disagree with me, that's OK too. Personal limits are a big part of being a reporter, in any field.

Point is: it's unfair to dismiss all of game journalism as corrupt because of incidents like this, or because some people have different standards than others, or because some people believe that some compromises are OK. Just like how it'd be unfair to look at this thread and say "Wow, GAF is a bunch of generalizing assholes." See what I'm saying?
I think most people aren't generalizing about all gaming journalists. That's not what people have been claiming.

The biggest issue that has been discussed is the intrinsic relationship between PR and game journalists (and how that conflicts with proper journalistic ethical standards), as well as the lack of self-reflection from much of the gaming press.

It's especially the latter that people are frustrated about (at the moment). That some of the gaming journalists aren't airing anything about it and dismissing the whole subject, when in fact it is incredibly important to self-evaluate and self-reflect on one's own professional behaviour, as well as one's colleagues.

Not many sites are talking about it, yet a person lost his job for speaking up about a culture that comes across as incestuous and overly defensive when being rationally criticized.
 

conman

Member
Aug 12, 2007
4,591
0
0
Have we done anything to make you believe otherwise?
Yes. The almost universal press silence on these events is deafening.

These events are one of the most direct indictments of the gaming press in recent memory, and no one is covering them. I'm sure you can understand how that vacuum looks like an admission of guilt.
 

Ledsen

Member
Mar 25, 2007
12,259
2
0
Sweden
Most of my Twitter feed is joking around with people. You don't have to take it so seriously!
But why joke about it if you agree that it is a serious issue? This is the perfect time to bring the debate to the forefront with front page articles on major sites and writers such as you publicly weighing in on the issue to promote discussion and change.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.