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

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Huh...that doesn't really change anything for me, I never had the intention to go to Polygon anyway (I only regularly visit GB and scroll through Kotaku and Joystiq RSS headlines) but...what? Haha

I'm behind the times obviously, did anyone from Polygon ever address this publicly?
Gies posted in the GAF thread about the "documentary" -- but as you can guess it was nothing but excuses. It'd be wrong to say he addressed anything.
 
And that goods are exchanged for money is not a hypothetical in the writing industry.

I think it was Jeff Green that told the story that when he first started for a magazine the different editors would take their free books they got from the various companies they were covering and traded them in at book shops that gave you the money instead of vouchers for the trade-in.
(Hopefully I'm not wrong with specifics, but it definitely was told on GFW Radio.)

Of course that doesn't mean that everyone that gets these press kit things does it. A large group of people will probably adorn their office if they are fans of the game. And if the office is full it will be thrown away.
A lot of people will throw it out immediately or give it to friends that are into these things.
Some give it away to their audience using various contests.

Most non-personalized gifts do however have a monetary value attached to them and the less scrupulous people might end up selling it on Ebay.

And this seemingly impropriety is a very real thing to me. Now that I'm aware of the expensive flag that went to Giant Bomb I want to know who ends up with it. I would call it curiosity, they would probably call it jealousy. ;-)
True, and this is why a good ethics and COI policy should exist - to avoid any perceived conflicts of interest. This is key, as your readership should have no doubt where you stand.
 
Are Shawn Elliot and Jeff Green message board conspiracy theorists, too?
I'll sum up my perspective on it like this:

Writer Ron Jonson sneaked into the Bilderberg Bohemian Grove ceremony (another reading recommendation: http://www.amazon.com/Them-Adventures-Extremists-Jon-Ronson/dp/0743233212 ). As part of his reporting for his book he had crackpot Alex Jones with him (basically combining two threads of the same story about conspiracy theorists in one fucking hilarious field trip). All Jonson was going to do to get in was dress like a wealthy asshole and wear an entitled expression as he got to the gates. It worked. Jones, however, suspected that Jonson was a Bilderberg spy and instead climbed a cliff and tumbled through poison oak before crashing the party like a less funny Chris Farley. Jonson documented what he saw as an absurd and slightly perverted crypto-fraternity party for dull dickheads with money, time, and ego to spare. Jones, of course, was convinced that he had tumbled through the gates of hell itself and was happy to survive his encounter with Satan. Those who look for literal money hats are like Jones in that they allow the dudes at Bohemian Grove to laugh off their lunatic detractors. Meanwhile, with his more measured approach, Jonson is able to start unravelling a real and no less interesting story.
 
You seem to keep misunderstanding my basic point. Everyone has different ethics. Generally people have them within some similar area. I don't want to throw out bullshit hypotheticals, but things like what counts as a conflict? Polygon have gone with no gifts more than $50, some say no gifts at all. Guess what, ethics is your own decision and opinion. You might say no gifts is the only way. Others will disagree.

But most conflict of interest/ethic policies are guidelines. They work you through decisions. They don't tell you what decision to make - that's your decision based on those ethics.
You act like the mere fact that different people disagree precludes the mere possibility of standards being set to any level of specificity. This takes ethical relativism to an absurd extent and is nothing more than an attempt to avoid being held responsible within your chosen profession. Your statement is equally true of every other field of professional journalism--different individuals in the field might differ as to what constitutes unethical behavior--from political journalism to sports journalism to entertainment journalism, but that doesn't stop credible publications in each field from creating explicit and detailed guidelines to follow and ordering their reporters to follow them, and anyone who doesn't agree is free to find work elsewhere. They even consult with each other on ethics policies because they know that's important to the field as a whole, not just an individual publication, that they all strive to enforce ethical policies. This is because they all know that whatever minute disagreements might pop up between individuals, it's far more important to maintain at least a base level of professional integrity and accountability to prevent conflicts of interest from arising, and they know that their credibility among readers is diminished if they can't even promise their readers that they've given a certain amount of thought and consideration to journalistic ethics. Yes, these are hard questions for any journalistic organization to ask itself, and coming up with consensus won't be easy. That hasn't stopped journalists in every other field from doing so.

So if you want to handwave away the prospect of being held to any sort of baseline standard of ethical conduct because everyone's got their own, like, opinion, man, you're free to do so. Just don't call yourself a fucking journalist.
 
Articles
Wings over Sealand articles (second article has summary) 1 2
John Walker's (Rock Paper Shotgun) blog (start with Games Journalists, And The Perception Of Corruption)

Reactions
Shawn Elliot - 1 (aegies is Arthur Gies of polygon.com) 2 3 4 on the psychology of PR
Jeff Green on the way it actually works
ShockingAlberto on his view as a former games writer
Jason Schreier (Kotaku) has no interest writing about this
N'Gai Croal initial reaction on Twitter
Chris Schilling (freelance) likes both people involved and so doesn't want to write about it
Danny O'Dwyer (Gamespot UK) on why his site won't cover this (audience is not interested) - 1 2 3
Jim Sterling: http://www.gamefront.com/critics-in-the-headlights/
TotalBiscuit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2keHyS_Ooo
 
Exactly! That's why these boiler plate policies exist. At no point should you be questioning if an action is right or wrong. You should already know the answer. There is no excuse in legitimate journalism or business for any less.
No room for ethical dilemmas in legitimate journalism? Let me return your Googling favour with one example.

I agree that a good company should set up their policies - but will a policy say "a cup of tea is alright"? If it does you've really overwritten your bloody policy.

You act like the mere fact that different people disagree precludes the mere possibility of standards being set to any level of specificity. This takes ethical relativism to an absurd extent and is nothing more than an attempt to avoid being held responsible within your chosen profession. Your statement is equally true of every other field of professional journalism--different individuals in the field might differ as to what constitutes unethical behavior--from political journalism to sports journalism to entertainment journalism, but that doesn't stop credible publications in each field from creating explicit and detailed guidelines to follow and ordering their reporters to follow them, and anyone who doesn't agree is free to find work elsewhere. They even consult with each other on ethics policies because they know that's important to the field as a whole, not just an individual publication, that they all strive to enforce ethical policies. This is because they all know that whatever minute disagreements might pop up between individuals, it's far more important to maintain at least a base level of professional integrity and accountability to prevent conflicts of interest from arising, and they know that their credibility among readers is diminished if they can't even promise their readers that they've given a certain amount of thought and consideration to journalistic ethics. Yes, these are hard questions for any journalistic organization to ask itself, and coming up with consensus won't be easy. That hasn't stopped journalists in every other field from doing so.

So if you want to handwave away the prospect of being held to any sort of baseline standard of ethical conduct because everyone's got their own, like, opinion, man, you're free to do so. Just don't call yourself a fucking journalist.
I've been a bit too fighting an extreme than I want - there's a lot in there I agree with. Publications have their own codes (which is why I mentioned that they're guidelines). But I just wanted to throw in the point we can't assume every single person at every single publication should adhere to the exact same standards posted by someone on a forum - the debate at times here has been a bit ONE SIZE FITS ALL and I didn't think that helped too much - you need to discuss the nuances to find out what the policies should be.
 
Articles
Wings over Sealand articles (second article has summary) 1 2
John Walker's (Rock Paper Shotgun) blog (start with Games Journalists, And The Perception Of Corruption)

Reactions
Shawn Elliot - 1 (aegies is Arthur Gies of polygon.com) 2 3 4 on the psychology of PR
Jeff Green on the way it actually works
ShockingAlberto on his view as a former games writer
Jason Schreier (Kotaku) has no interest writing about this
N'Gai Croal initial reaction on Twitter
Chris Schilling (freelance) likes both people involved and so doesn't want to write about it
Danny O'Dwyer (Gamespot UK) on why his site won't cover this (audience is not interested) - 1 2 3
Dude, sorry for not replying to you earlier question. I see you already found the links. Aside from the people listed above, Ryan Davis of GB opted for the "I'm not a journalist" excuse.
 
We all know that everyone in the gaming press knows what's going on. They all know that we're fuming about it here on GAF, Twitter, and various blogs and forums. And we know that they know. And still, we're treated to silence, dismissive attitudes, and denial.
That is because they hold their audience in contempt.

It often shines through in the way they talk about 'gamers'.
 
No room for ethical dilemmas in legitimate journalism? Let me return your Googling favour with one example.

I agree that a good company should set up their policies - but will a policy say "a cup of tea is alright"? If it does you've really overwritten your bloody policy.
Great article, but you're comparing a search for truth with accepting free toys. Your example is a clear ambiguity. Going out for free drinks with a PR team is not. Regardless, no hurt feelings, this has been a great discussion.
 
Really pissed me off that in pretty much all cases they put much, much more effort into these packages for the press than they do collector's editions for the fans that actually pay money for the games.
Reviewers' favorable opinions translate into our dollars. This is not surprising.

That being said, I don't really have an issue with PR kits unless they're being abused nefariously somehow ATF (selling on ebay for example)

It's PR jobs to gussy this stuff up (I've worked with PR departments on multiple clients previously, different industry) so it's understandable to present the culmination of thousands of man hours and millions of dollars into a nice, cool looking package to present to folks.

But I understand people's views of seeing as a "gift" of some time. But, again, millions of dollars, thousands of hours went into a single product, so there's a sense of pride in seeing something presented nicely.
 

NervousXtian

Thought Emoji Movie was good. Take that as you will.
I think really the people so up in arms are actually just frustrated with the game industry as a whole, and this is really just a scapegoat for those frustrations.

It's like "we have all these awesome games, but they all suck" attitude that's all over these days.

I mean, do want previews that just say the game is shit and garbage right now? Do we want reviews that just destroy every mediocre game you don't like?

Honestly, yeah gaming sites are pretty in bed with PR guys.. but I'm really not understanding how it effects the end game.. the games we play.

The games speak for themselves, either they suck or they don't. There's tons of outlets to help you find out if a game is for you... but I guess if you look at places like IGN, Gamespot, 1UP, GiantBomb, Kotaku as just hype sites and gamer culture you might leave less disappointed.

I mean remove all the PR bullshit that's built-in and I can't really envision how things are that different from now in the end.

I guess I don't want all serious game talk all the time... I mean refresh the frontpage of GAF any time and it reads very much like what you'd see on gaming sites in one form or the other.. it's just we are discussing it.
 
Is it bad that I don't have a problem with that? For me, I don't go to Giant Bomb for reviews or for criticism. I sort of look at them as comedians, and I really just go there because they make me laugh. In other words, there's no reviews or other commentary there for me to take seriously, because I don't take anything on that website seriously.

That's not a knock against them -- just a reflection of how I view that site. I adore those guys and the content they put out.
 
I think really the people so up in arms are actually just frustrated with the game industry as a whole, and this is really just a scapegoat for those frustrations.

It's like "we have all these awesome games, but they all suck" attitude that's all over these days.

I mean, do want previews that just say the game is shit and garbage right now? Do we want reviews that just destroy every mediocre game you don't like?

Honestly, yeah gaming sites are pretty in bed with PR guys.. but I'm really not understanding how it effects the end game.. the games we play.

The games speak for themselves, either they suck or they don't. There's tons of outlets to help you find out if a game is for you... but I guess if you look at places like IGN, Gamespot, 1UP, GiantBomb, Kotaku as just hype sites and gamer culture you might leave less disappointed.

I mean remove all the PR bullshit that's built-in and I can't really envision how things are that different from now in the end.

I guess I don't want all serious game talk all the time... I mean refresh the frontpage of GAF any time and it reads very much like what you'd see on gaming sites in one form or the other.. it's just we are discussing it.
Would it be cliché to tag quote here..?
 
Reviewers' favorable opinions translate into our dollars. This is not surprising.

That being said, I don't really have an issue with PR kits unless they're being abused nefariously somehow ATF (selling on ebay for example)

It's PR jobs to gussy this stuff up (I've worked with PR departments on multiple clients previously, different industry) so it's understandable to present the culmination of thousands of man hours and millions of dollars into a nice, cool looking package to present to folks.

But I understand people's views of seeing as a "gift" of some time. But, again, millions of dollars, thousands of hours went into a single product, so there's a sense of pride in seeing something presented nicely.
Link from Shawn Elliot's post is incredibly relevant here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XBmJay_qdNc#
 
Is it bad that I don't have a problem with that? For me, I don't go to Giant Bomb for reviews or for criticism. I sort of look at them as comedians, and I really just go there because they make me laugh. In other words, there's no reviews or other commentary there for me to take seriously, because I don't take anything on that website seriously.

That's not a knock against them -- just a reflection of how I view that site. I adore those guys and the content they put out.
That's how I view the site also, and it's not a slight against them at all. To me, it's like listening to friends bullshit around and talk/play videogames. I'm a Premium member and have loved it.

Plus if you've followed them for as long as some have, like me, you get a sense of each person's tastes in games, and they make that very transparent. So when they do review a game I'm interested in, I take that into account.
 
Is it bad that I don't have a problem with that? For me, I don't go to Giant Bomb for reviews or for criticism. I sort of look at them as comedians, and I really just go there because they make me laugh. In other words, there's no reviews or other commentary there for me to take seriously, because I don't take anything on that website seriously.

That's not a knock against them -- just a reflection of how I view that site. I adore those guys and the content they put out.
Yeah, I don't have an issue with it either. He isn't really a journalist. He reviews a game once in a blue moon but mostly he just hosts the QLs, TNT, and Bombcasts.
 
Is it bad that I don't have a problem with that? For me, I don't go to Giant Bomb for reviews or for criticism. I sort of look at them as comedians, and I really just go there because they make me laugh. In other words, there's no reviews or other commentary there for me to take seriously, because I don't take anything on that website seriously.

That's not a knock against them -- just a reflection of how I view that site. I adore those guys and the content they put out.
I like Giant Bomb too but that doesn't mean they should get a pass. I mean, if that is what Ryan said that is totally non-reflective. Giant Bomb built is' reputation and grew largely out of a scandal directly related to this kind of thing. And whether or not you call yourself a "journalist" doesn't really matter. You write about games. You expect people to value your opinion. You should therefore care about where and how your opinions may be influenced and/or compromised.

If they actually kept that Assassin's Creed 3 collector's edition thing, I absolutely I have a problem with that.
 
Yeah, I don't have an issue with it either. He isn't really a journalist. He reviews a game once in a blue moon but mostly he just hosts the QLs, TNT, and Bombcasts.
They are opinion formers. If they agree that this is a problem, they now have a chance to speak up. I hope they take it instead of brushing it off as "not their thing".
 
The way the podcasts I listen to and sites I read react to this story will seriously affect my opinion of them going forward. Any type of dismissive, sitting-on-my-high-horse-above-the-conspiracy-theorist-rabble attitude will get dropped like a hot potato.
Exactly what I'm thinking. If they ignore it, I'm done. If they belittle us as "conspiracy theorists," I'm done. Time to clean house and see who the folks with real integrity are.
Well, at least Weekend Confirmed covered it... well, they covered Keighley and must have recorded before all this shit went down, so hopefully they'll come back to it.
Andrea was surprisingly cool with getting free PS3s and what not anyway. :p

But yeah, I don't expect this to get any wide coverage in the press. They just don't care.

Is it bad that I don't have a problem with that? For me, I don't go to Giant Bomb for reviews or for criticism. I sort of look at them as comedians, and I really just go there because they make me laugh. In other words, there's no reviews or other commentary there for me to take seriously, because I don't take anything on that website seriously.

That's not a knock against them -- just a reflection of how I view that site. I adore those guys and the content they put out.
I think the difference there is that Jeff has basically said that he sees his job as a consumer reports type reviewer and that is the site's focus. He's actively mocked the idea of the "Pauline Kael of video games" for over 6 years, if not longer, so even if you don't like his position on the issue at least he's honest about it.
 
Remember with the whole gerstman thing?

I remember there were 1up guys picketing outside of GS office and long blog posts from many press guys.

Times changed?
they had a reason then, this is not even worth it.

Any gaming website that refuses to cover this, I am going to move from apathy to actively loathing. I don't care if you're an incompetent journalist, but when someone in your profession loses their job because they stood up for what's right, and you refuse to say anything, I'm sorry, but I consider you scum.
ha ha, my word.
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
Yeah, I don't have an issue with it either. He isn't really a journalist. He reviews a game once in a blue moon but mostly he just hosts the QLs, TNT, and Bombcasts.
I hope you extend the same courtesy to Geoff Keighley then. It must have been many years since his last review in any official capacity.
 
Can someone enlighten me, what is the spectrum of salaries for your typical vidya game editor for a big site like ign?

I feel like I need that to get a clearer perspective atm.
Associate Editor (entry level) usually starts around $30,000 USD
Senior Editor is around $50,000 USD

Management and Director level positions will make more, but the vast majority of the people who are actually writing content are earning between $30-$50k/year in the US.


Interestingly enough, most of the super fancy press kits are EU. Most US game press kits consist of a retail boxed game and a USB stick with images (or a link to a FTP site)

Thanks, added!



No problem :) Would like a direct quote before I add that one if anyone has one.
Here's the list from yesterday:

Forbes 10-25

Gamesutra 10-25

John Walker (personal site) 10-24
John Walker (personal site) 10-25 (piece 1)
John Walker (personal site) 10-25 (piece 2)

Kill Screen 10-25

Penny Arcade 10-25

WorthPlaying 10-25
 
I'll sum up my perspective on it like this:

Writer Ron Jonson sneaked into the Bilderberg Bohemian Grove ceremony (another reading recommendation: http://www.amazon.com/Them-Adventures-Extremists-Jon-Ronson/dp/0743233212 ). As part of his reporting for his book he had crackpot Alex Jones with him (basically combining two threads of the same story about conspiracy theorists in one fucking hilarious field trip). All Jonson was going to do to get in was dress like a wealthy asshole and wear an entitled expression as he got to the gates. It worked. Jones, however, suspected that Jonson was a Bilderberg spy and instead climbed a cliff and tumbled through poison oak before crashing the party like a less funny Chris Farley. Jonson documented what he saw as an absurd and slightly perverted crypto-fraternity party for dull dickheads with money, time, and ego to spare. Jones, of course, was convinced that he had tumbled through the gates of hell itself and was happy to survive his encounter with Satan. Those who look for literal money hats are like Jones in that they allow the dudes at Bohemian Grove to laugh off their lunatic detractors. Meanwhile, with his more measured approach, Jonson is able to start unravelling a real and no less interesting story.
Your posts are becoming expensive to me. But keep them coming.
 
Associate Editor (entry level) usually starts around $30,000 USD
Senior Editor is around $50,000 USD

Management and Director level positions will make more, but the vast majority of the people who are actually writing content are earning between $30-$50k/year in the US.




Interestingly enough, most of the super fancy press kits are EU. Most US game press kits consist of a retail boxed game and a USB stick with images (or a link to a FTP site)



Here's the list from yesterday:

Forbes 10-25

Gamesutra 10-25

John Walker (personal site) 10-24
John Walker (personal site) 10-25 (piece 1)
John Walker (personal site) 10-25 (piece 2)

Kill Screen 10-25

Penny Arcade 10-25

WorthPlaying 10-25
Thank you!
 
I'm on my phone - tried to read through everything. Apologies if I missed some of your points, but let me try to address a few:

- I try not to take twitter too seriously, and I have a tendency to joke about serious issues. (See: presidential debates.) That doesn't make them any less serious. Conflict of interest in this field is indeed a serious issue.

- I think today's Silicon Knights story (among many, many others) is good proof that Kotaku is not very concerned with how angry a story might make publishers.

- Again, I can't speak for all of Kotaku, but I can tell you that I wasn't actively thinking "oh shit shouldn't cover this!" I've been busy working on a few stories (like this one, which took me a ton of time: http://kotaku.com/5954973/as-fans-say-starcraft-is-dying-blizzard-plans-some-big-changes) among many other things. Believe it or not, I don't just sit around all day reading GAF. ;) I read John Walker's stuff yesterday, loved it, briefly thought about this story, and decided to work on other things instead.

- All that said, you folks bring up some good points. Maybe I should have covered this issue! I really don't know. I think the idea of press covering press is always nuanced, and I don't like the idea of telling other people how to do their jobs, nor do I like being "journalism ombudsman." My mentality in recent months has been to just do my job to the best of my ability, refuse to make compromises, and stay away from criticizing how other media do their jobs, for the most part. Is that the right mentality to take? Dunno. Is there really an easy answer there?

I'm also not sure it fits within our goals of spending most of our energy on stories that could appeal to broader audiences. Again, I really don't know. I think it's more nuanced than has been suggested here.

But I hate that some of you are boiling this down to "site doesn't cover this? They're part of the problem!" Not every site covers the same things, and not every site is necessarily interested in media issues like this one. You're all right that this is serious, problematic, and worth talking about. But there's no dogma that everyone in the gaming industry has to cover every single serious issue. Sometimes different publications just have different goals.
 
I'm on my phone - tried to read through everything. Apologies if I missed some of your points, but let me try to address a few:

- I try not to take twitter too seriously, and I have a tendency to joke about serious issues. (See: presidential debates.) That doesn't make them any less serious. Conflict of interest in this field is indeed a serious issue.

- I think today's Silicon Knights story (among many, many others) is good proof that Kotaku is not very concerned with how angry a story might make publishers.

- Again, I can't speak for all of Kotaku, but I can tell you that I wasn't actively thinking "oh shit shouldn't cover this!" I've been busy working on a few stories (like this one, which took me a ton of time: http://kotaku.com/5954973/as-fans-say-starcraft-is-dying-blizzard-plans-some-big-changes) among many other things. Believe it or not, I don't just sit around all day reading GAF. ;) I read John Walker's stuff yesterday, loved it, briefly thought about this story, and decided to work on other things instead.

- All that said, you folks bring up some good points. Maybe I should have covered this issue! I really don't know. I think the idea of press covering press is always nuanced, and I don't like the idea of telling other people how to do their jobs, nor do I like being "journalism ombudsman." My mentality in recent months has been to just do my job to the best of my ability, refuse to make compromises, and stay away from criticizing how other media do their jobs, for the most part. Is that the right mentality to take? Dunno. Is there really an easy answer there?

I'm also not sure it fits within our goals of spending most of our energy on stories that could appeal to broader audiences. Again, I really don't know. I think it's more nuanced than has been suggested here.

But I hate that some of you are boiling this down to "site doesn't cover this? They're part of the problem!" Not every site covers the same things, and not every site is necessarily interested in media issues like this one. You're all right that this is serious, problematic, and worth talking about. But there's no dogma that everyone in the gaming industry has to cover every single serious issue. Sometimes different publications just have different goals.
Respectfully, I think that this has become a big enough movement to at least warrant a mention on your website. Certainly it could be fit somewhere in-between the cosplay stories. Looking at the front page now, I would say that it is a more important story than "A Whole Bunch of Square-Enix Games Are on Sale This Weekend."
 

JeffGreen

97.5: The Brodeo
And that goods are exchanged for money is not a hypothetical in the writing industry.

I think it was Jeff Green that told the story that when he first started for a magazine the different editors would take their free books they got from the various companies they were covering and traded them in at book shops that gave you the money instead of vouchers for the trade-in.
(Hopefully I'm not wrong with specifics, but it definitely was told on GFW Radio.)
.
This wasn't quite it, but that's okay. The story is sort of similar, and in any case kind of amusing. This was back when I worked at the now-defunct Ziff Davis Press. They made computer books. At one point we made one that was rolled up and shipped in a can. It was called "Can Do DOS." No really.

Anyway, I was a book editor, as were all my colleagues. They were our own books that we published. When new ones came in, some of the editors (NOT ME) would take piles of them and sell them to used book stores etc in exchange for credit. I would never have done anything so shady. What *I* did (only once) is trade a couple programming books to my landlord at the time....for a bag of weed. I have no regrets.
 
But I hate that some of you are boiling this down to "site doesn't cover this? They're part of the problem!" Not every site covers the same things, and not every site is necessarily interested in media issues like this one. You're all right that this is serious, problematic, and worth talking about. But there's no dogma that everyone in the gaming industry has to cover every single serious issue. Sometimes different publications just have different goals.
I think it's just a case of people expecting even a canned response along the lines of "We don't let PR people buy review scores on our site". Not mentioning the story itself seems to make you complicit, even if you have benign reasons for not covering the story in depth.

This wasn't quite it, but that's okay. The story is sort of similar, and in any case kind of amusing. This was back when I worked at the now-defunct Ziff Davis Press. They made computer books. At one point we made one that was rolled up and shipped in a can. It was called "Can Do DOS." No really.

Anyway, I was a book editor, as were all my colleagues. They were our own books that we published. When new ones came in, some of the editors (NOT ME) would take piles of them and sell them to used book stores etc in exchange for credit. I would never have done anything so shady. What *I* did (only once) is trade a couple programming books to my landlord at the time....for a bag of weed. I have no regrets.
How can I believe anything you saw now?! I'm throwing out my CGW/GFW back issue collection!
 
This is probably the most upsetting thing I've seen all day, as someone who loves swag and Collectors Editions.

Now I want to be a Games "Journalist" even more. :(
Funnily I think this is how this whole turn of events started (not pointing a finger or anything). It's almost like a recruitment advert "You like fancy editions of games? Well why not become a games 'journalist' and all your wildest dreams can come true".

The last few years have been somewhat depressing for games related media. All the talk has been focused on business, forecasts, attach rates, publishers, practices, ect. ect. and seldom about games themselves.
 
I'll sum up my perspective on it like this:

Writer Ron Jonson sneaked into the Bilderberg Bohemian Grove ceremony (another reading recommendation: http://www.amazon.com/Them-Adventures-Extremists-Jon-Ronson/dp/0743233212 ). As part of his reporting for his book he had crackpot Alex Jones with him (basically combining two threads of the same story about conspiracy theorists in one fucking hilarious field trip). All Jonson was going to do to get in was dress like a wealthy asshole and wear an entitled expression as he got to the gates. It worked. Jones, however, suspected that Jonson was a Bilderberg spy and instead climbed a cliff and tumbled through poison oak before crashing the party like a less funny Chris Farley. Jonson documented what he saw as an absurd and slightly perverted crypto-fraternity party for dull dickheads with money, time, and ego to spare. Jones, of course, was convinced that he had tumbled through the gates of hell itself and was happy to survive his encounter with Satan. Those who look for literal money hats are like Jones in that they allow the dudes at Bohemian Grove to laugh off their lunatic detractors. Meanwhile, with his more measured approach, Jonson is able to start unravelling a real and no less interesting story.
Its Jon Ronson dude. He also covered this episode in a TV series of the same name, its hilarious viewing. He's great, everyone buy all of his books.
 
I'm on my phone - tried to read through everything. Apologies if I missed some of your points, but let me try to address a few:

- I try not to take twitter too seriously, and I have a tendency to joke about serious issues. (See: presidential debates.) That doesn't make them any less serious. Conflict of interest in this field is indeed a serious issue.

- I think today's Silicon Knights story (among many, many others) is good proof that Kotaku is not very concerned with how angry a story might make publishers.

- Again, I can't speak for all of Kotaku, but I can tell you that I wasn't actively thinking "oh shit shouldn't cover this!" I've been busy working on a few stories (like this one, which took me a ton of time: http://kotaku.com/5954973/as-fans-say-starcraft-is-dying-blizzard-plans-some-big-changes) among many other things. Believe it or not, I don't just sit around all day reading GAF. ;) I read John Walker's stuff yesterday, loved it, briefly thought about this story, and decided to work on other things instead.

- All that said, you folks bring up some good points. Maybe I should have covered this issue! I really don't know. I think the idea of press covering press is always nuanced, and I don't like the idea of telling other people how to do their jobs, nor do I like being "journalism ombudsman." My mentality in recent months has been to just do my job to the best of my ability, refuse to make compromises, and stay away from criticizing how other media do their jobs, for the most part. Is that the right mentality to take? Dunno. Is there really an easy answer there?

I'm also not sure it fits within our goals of spending most of our energy on stories that could appeal to broader audiences. Again, I really don't know. I think it's more nuanced than has been suggested here.

But I hate that some of you are boiling this down to "site doesn't cover this? They're part of the problem!" Not every site covers the same things, and not every site is necessarily interested in media issues like this one. You're all right that this is serious, problematic, and worth talking about. But there's no dogma that everyone in the gaming industry has to cover every single serious issue. Sometimes different publications just have different goals.

What I don't understand is how can you consider your site to be about gaming when you will gladly report about a guy killing his wife by kissing her or a chinese teacher that dresses up as a maid because her class got good grade but then won't report about a subject that can't be more about the gaming industry than that...


Anyway, I was a book editor, as were all my colleagues. They were our own books that we published. When new ones came in, some of the editors (NOT ME) would take piles of them and sell them to used book stores etc in exchange for credit. I would never have done anything so shady. What *I* did (only once) is trade a couple programming books to my landlord at the time....for a bag of weed. I have no regrets.
Hey Jeff, anybody told you that you're awesome today? Can't wait to see you on Oktobercast lol.
 
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