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

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Now this seems like a good take on the situation. Why not post it on the site? Why not bring it up to your editor or boss or whoever to make it the official stance of Kutako?

You're a pretty cool guy to come to this thread and try to debate the subject with us. But it's not us that needs to be addressed at this time. It's the millions of readers you have that don't know about Neogaf and this thread. Let them have the chance to think about it, and discuss it among themselves.
Because then his real customers (publishers) would be upset and cut off access.
 
Morning folks! I don't really want to talk more about why I haven't written about the whole PS3 contest/Wainwright thing (I think I made that pretty clear!) but I do want to pop in and address a couple more issues that you guys have been discussing.

I can't speak for any website or any other person, nor was I around during the 80s/90s/early 2000s when apparently things were much different than they are now, but I can give you some thoughts from my personal experiences working as a journalist in this field.

- There are a lot of problems in game journalism, but as my boss pointed out recently, it'd be disingenuous to suggest that those problems are EXCLUSIVE to game journalism. Did any of you watch the Apple press conference the other day? It was painful to watch that crowd (presumably filled with journalists) hoot and holler for products like they were at the Super Bowl. Even E3's press conferences (at least the recent ones) aren't that bad.

And then there are issues like this: http://gizmodo.com/5953355/how-i-fooled-the-internet-into-thinking-this-fake-sony-nexus-was-real

And this: http://deadspin.com/5954279/the-bes...undiscovered-american-sportswriter-douche-bag

Point is, many of the issues you all have pointed out in this thread are issues that people face in all fields of journalism, not just gaming. You should hear about some of the press junkets that film journalists take!

- Advertisements! Is it a conflict of interest to advertise for video games on a video game website? I don't know. But I can tell you that in my time at Kotaku, I don't think I've ever even interacted with the folks in advertising. I know nothing about how we pick ads, who picks them, how much they pay, or what sort of things advertisers are saying to my company. It just has nothing to do with the editorial team. So it's hard for me to agree that gaming ads are a problem, because they have so little to do with how I work. We get a lot of criticism - some valid, some less valid - but I think Kotaku has done an excellent job of proving that fear of publisher/advertiser backlash has never, ever stopped us from running a story.

- Ethics in journalism, I've learned over the years, is all about levels, boundaries, and compromises. Sometimes those levels are dictated by the companies we work for; other times we have to figure them out on our own.

I see some things as okay that others might not. I have no problem taking video games from publishers, for example. The more games I get, the more I can play, and the more games I can play, the more my readers benefit from what I can write about them. I also have no problem taking a chicken kabob or water bottle at a publisher-run press event. To me, that's just a courtesy, like how I might offer a cup of coffee to guests in my office. And if I'm spending eight hours at a big press event, it's nice to be able to eat something.

But I don't take gifts from companies I cover (and when they do send me things, I usually throw them out or give them away). I won't wear t-shirts or bags or anything else with a video game or game company's brand/name. I've never let a game publisher pay for my travel, hotel, or any other expenses. If I go out to an expensive meal with friends in development or PR, I try to pay for myself. Those are my personal guidelines, and I don't want to impose them upon anyone else or tell anyone else how to live their lives, but I think it's important to be transparent about this sort of stuff.

(I've also been very fortunate to work under some smart, super-talented editors like Stephen Totilo and Chris Kohler, both of whom have very strict ethical guidelines and have taught me a great deal about all of this stuff.)

- The topic of PR-journalist relationships is quite an interesting one. I disagree with some of you in that I think it's perfectly okay for journalists and PR people to have cordial, friendly relationships. I also think there are levels: being casual acquaintances with someone is different than being good friends with someone which is different than getting married to someone. But it's futile to pretend we're at war. Journalists and PR people have totally different goals, but we have to work together, even when we all just want to strangle one another.

Like the ethical issues I mentioned above, this sort of thing is all about setting your own strict personal boundaries and guidelines. I've never felt like being friendly with PR folk has affected the way I do my job, and all the good PR people understand that journalists want to be as fair and as honest as possible when covering their companies. If I ever felt like I was writing or covering a story differently because of a friendship with someone in the industry, I might reconsider this approach, but I've never had that experience.

- Let's talk about swag. Swag is a pain in the ass. Again, I can't speak for other people in journalism, but I can tell you that the giant limited editions and press kits I get are more trouble than they're worth. I want games, and I want to play as many games as possible (so I can better serve my readers) - all the other crap is usually just going in the trash bin. Maybe this stuff has some sort of subtle influence on me that I don't even know about, but I'd never even wear a t-shirt with a video game's name on it, let alone fill my apartment with flags or posters or whatever else companies are sending. I'm just not interested in any of that stuff.

- The idea of games journalist as a stepping stone to other parts of the industry bothers me, and it's never really something that I've wanted to do. I do this because I love writing and reporting and telling interesting stories, not because I want to work in the video game industry.

But we all need to eat. And it's tough to condemn someone for taking a job under any circumstances - everyone has their own personal/financial situations, and not everyone has that many options.

OK, I'll cut this post off before it gets too much further into tl;dr territory. If you've got any questions about any of this - or about my personal stances and experiences - feel free to let me know!
Deadspin and Gizmodo write about these problems and put them out in the open on the frontpage of their site. The major gaming blogs and web sites haven't touch this story at all in any official capacity. Journalists in those fields hold their colleagues to basic ethical standards and will shame outlets or people that aren't in line.

"No cheering in the press box" is a unified rule for sports writers. The Games Media has not taken a stand on these practice. They've been silent throughout this entire situation. There is no story on IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, or Kotaku. In my mind, that is a suspicious decision.

We know that the media relies on their relationships with public relations to make money in this industry. It seems everyone is afraid to step on other people's toes instead of doing there job. Not having an opinion on this as an outlet or as a journalist and still participating in "the game" is like implicitly endorsing the events that have transpired in this event and the accusations that Florence made.

How you interact with the sources you use to create content on Kotaku is a crucial piece of information that all readers of your blog should be interested in. Even if they aren't interested in it, if it is important to you as a journalist you should open the mind of your readers, rather than spoon-feed them what they want to read. Not responding to the issue of press and PR relations on the front page of Kotaku and joking about receiving everything you want to write from publicists makes it sound like you see no systemic problem with the way things work right now.

If that is how you feel, take a stand right now. Let people know what you value as a journalist, so we can judge your voice as a writer fairly. Don't stay silent on this issue on the platform that people read your stories. Being silent and muzzling this debate only makes me feel like Kotaku and the other outlets are either oblivious to the ethical issues they face or have something to hide, especially when you consider how much you have to lose or win when writing a story about the people you deal with everyday to perform your job.
 
No, I have never been told to do anything that has anything to do with the advertising on our site. Not sure how to make that any clearer.
AGAIN, it's like you refuse to understand the point. They don't have to explicitly say "Make sure you give this at least a 9 cause they spent 10k on advertising on our site." Most likely no one would say that to you.

It's not meant to be as obnoxious as that. They plant little seeds... And when a glowing, let's say ACIII review gets posted when your website is PLASTERED in assassin's creed ads... are you gonna take everything said in that "review" to heart or are you going to be skeptical because Ubisoft bought all your ad space? (Even if the reviewer had no knowledge of the advertising. Meanwhile they've sent that reviewer custom made rare flag and swag kit worth over 2k with a letter stating how awesome your coverage was of their game to get the hype going.)
 
Many are eager to see people in the press address the matter (and several sites have been writing about it); some want promises that writers are taking palliative measures. The important thing, though, is that forums such as this are already skeptical, and there's no better corrective measure than that.

Whatever we want to think the press can do, what PR people can do, none of it will accomplish anything comparable to the result of audience scrutiny. GAF is great at this. It's why this thread exists. Sometimes we read signal where there's only really noise, sometimes we isolate the signal from the noise. So it goes.

I don't doubt that Shreier is being honest with himself when he writes that " I've never felt like being friendly with PR folk has affected the way I do my job, and all the good PR people understand that journalists want to be as fair and as honest as possible when covering their companies. If I ever felt like I was writing or covering a story differently because of a friendship with someone in the industry, I might reconsider this approach, but I've never had that experience." But we're all blind to our own blindnesses. In short, the proper path is the one GAF has walked all along: big, messy, boisterous, many-voiced discussions driven in equal part by enthusiasm and skepticism.

Thankfully, this isn't a field like medicine that (for the non-med students among us) is characterized by information disparities that disadvantage us and put us at the mercy of specialists. Second opinions are free and we needn't devote a month of research to determine whether or not a physician is painting the whole picture when prescribing a drug. Everyone here is as much an expert as the so-called specialists. When you smell bullshit, call bullshit (as is already the case).
 
Deadspin and Gizmodo write about these problems and put them out in the open on the frontpage of their site. The major gaming blogs and web sites haven't touch this story at all in any official capacity. Journalists in those fields hold their colleagues to basic ethical standards and will shame outlets or people that aren't in line.

"No cheering in the press box" is a unified rule for sports writers. The Games Media has not taken a stand on these practice. They've been silent throughout this entire situation. There is no story on IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, or Kotaku. In my mind, that is a suspicious decision.

We know that the media relies on their relationships with public relations to make money in this industry. It seems everyone is afraid to step on other people's toes instead of doing there job. Not having an opinion on this as an outlet or as a journalist and still participating in "the game" is like implicitly endorsing the events that have transpired in this event and the accusations that Florence made.

How you interact with the sources you use to create content on Kotaku is a crucial piece of information that all readers of your blog should be interested in. Even if they aren't interested in it, if it is important to you as a journalist you should open the mind of your readers, rather than spoon-feed them what they want to read. Not responding to the issue of press and PR relations on the front page of Kotaku and joking about receiving everything you want to write from publicists makes it sound like you see no systemic problem with the way things work right now.

If that is how you feel, take a stand right now. Let people know what you value as a journalist, so we can judge your voice as a writer fairly. Don't say nothing on this issue on the platform that people read your stories. Being silent and muzzling this debate only makes me feel like Kotaku and the other outlets are either oblivious to the ethical issues they face or have something to hide, especially when you consider how much you have to lose or win when writing a story about the people you deal with everyday to perform your job.
Fair points, and it's definitely something worth thinking and talking about internally.
 
Has Kotaku really not posted an article about this?

Really?

If they have, I would love to give them my pageview, if someone would kindly link it.

EDIT: I don't think Schreier has to write it himself, but how in God's name does Kotaku, a site that reveled in getting blackballed by Sony for Home, sleep at night not acknowledging this?
 
Morning folks! I don't really want to talk more about why I haven't written about the whole PS3 contest/Wainwright thing (I think I made that pretty clear!) but I do want to pop in and address a couple more issues that you guys have been discussing.

I can't speak for any website or any other person, nor was I around during the 80s/90s/early 2000s when apparently things were much different than they are now, but I can give you some thoughts from my personal experiences working as a journalist in this field.

- There are a lot of problems in game journalism, but as my boss pointed out recently, it'd be disingenuous to suggest that those problems are EXCLUSIVE to game journalism. Did any of you watch the Apple press conference the other day? It was painful to watch that crowd (presumably filled with journalists) hoot and holler for products like they were at the Super Bowl. Even E3's press conferences (at least the recent ones) aren't that bad.

And then there are issues like this: http://gizmodo.com/5953355/how-i-fooled-the-internet-into-thinking-this-fake-sony-nexus-was-real

And this: http://deadspin.com/5954279/the-bes...undiscovered-american-sportswriter-douche-bag

Point is, many of the issues you all have pointed out in this thread are issues that people face in all fields of journalism, not just gaming. You should hear about some of the press junkets that film journalists take!

- Advertisements! Is it a conflict of interest to advertise for video games on a video game website? I don't know. But I can tell you that in my time at Kotaku, I don't think I've ever even interacted with the folks in advertising. I know nothing about how we pick ads, who picks them, how much they pay, or what sort of things advertisers are saying to my company. It just has nothing to do with the editorial team. So it's hard for me to agree that gaming ads are a problem, because they have so little to do with how I work. We get a lot of criticism - some valid, some less valid - but I think Kotaku has done an excellent job of proving that fear of publisher/advertiser backlash has never, ever stopped us from running a story.

- Ethics in journalism, I've learned over the years, is all about levels, boundaries, and compromises. Sometimes those levels are dictated by the companies we work for; other times we have to figure them out on our own.

I see some things as okay that others might not. I have no problem taking video games from publishers, for example. The more games I get, the more I can play, and the more games I can play, the more my readers benefit from what I can write about them. I also have no problem taking a chicken kabob or water bottle at a publisher-run press event. To me, that's just a courtesy, like how I might offer a cup of coffee to guests in my office. And if I'm spending eight hours at a big press event, it's nice to be able to eat something.

But I don't take gifts from companies I cover (and when they do send me things, I usually throw them out or give them away). I won't wear t-shirts or bags or anything else with a video game or game company's brand/name. I've never let a game publisher pay for my travel, hotel, or any other expenses. If I go out to an expensive meal with friends in development or PR, I try to pay for myself. Those are my personal guidelines, and I don't want to impose them upon anyone else or tell anyone else how to live their lives, but I think it's important to be transparent about this sort of stuff.

(I've also been very fortunate to work under some smart, super-talented editors like Stephen Totilo and Chris Kohler, both of whom have very strict ethical guidelines and have taught me a great deal about all of this stuff.)

- The topic of PR-journalist relationships is quite an interesting one. I disagree with some of you in that I think it's perfectly okay for journalists and PR people to have cordial, friendly relationships. I also think there are levels: being casual acquaintances with someone is different than being good friends with someone which is different than getting married to someone. But it's futile to pretend we're at war. Journalists and PR people have totally different goals, but we have to work together, even when we all just want to strangle one another.

Like the ethical issues I mentioned above, this sort of thing is all about setting your own strict personal boundaries and guidelines. I've never felt like being friendly with PR folk has affected the way I do my job, and all the good PR people understand that journalists want to be as fair and as honest as possible when covering their companies. If I ever felt like I was writing or covering a story differently because of a friendship with someone in the industry, I might reconsider this approach, but I've never had that experience.

- Let's talk about swag. Swag is a pain in the ass. Again, I can't speak for other people in journalism, but I can tell you that the giant limited editions and press kits I get are more trouble than they're worth. I want games, and I want to play as many games as possible (so I can better serve my readers) - all the other crap is usually just going in the trash bin. Maybe this stuff has some sort of subtle influence on me that I don't even know about, but I'd never even wear a t-shirt with a video game's name on it, let alone fill my apartment with flags or posters or whatever else companies are sending. I'm just not interested in any of that stuff.

- The idea of games journalist as a stepping stone to other parts of the industry bothers me, and it's never really something that I've wanted to do. I do this because I love writing and reporting and telling interesting stories, not because I want to work in the video game industry.

But we all need to eat. And it's tough to condemn someone for taking a job under any circumstances - everyone has their own personal/financial situations, and not everyone has that many options.

OK, I'll cut this post off before it gets too much further into tl;dr territory. If you've got any questions about any of this - or about my personal stances and experiences - feel free to let me know!

And that is how gaming ethos should be. But i don't agree on personal reasons/finantial problems.

Just because person don't have any money, doesn't make it any prettier. You are just PR machine echo not journalist and you do it for personal gain. It's morally wrong. Same as thief who steal money for family. It suck that you don't have money but it doesn't make your stealing lawful or justified.
 
AGAIN, it's like you refuse to understand the point. They don't have to explicitly say "Make sure you give this at least a 9 cause they spent 10k on advertising on our site." Most likely no one would say that to you.

It's not meant to be as obnoxious as that. They plant little seeds... And when a glowing, let's say ACIII review gets posted when your website is PLASTERED in assassin's creed ads... are you gonna take everything said in that "review" to heart or are you going to be skeptical because Ubisoft bought all your ad space? (Even if the reviewer had no knowledge of the advertising. Meanwhile they've sent that reviewer custom made rare flag and swag kit worth over 2k with a letter stating how awesome your coverage was of their game to get the hype going.)
Perhaps I'm not explaining myself very well. Press kits do not plant little seeds in my head. They bother me. I never got a flag or anything like that (maybe someone else in the office did; not sure) but if I did, I imagine if anything it would have a negative influence on me, since I'd have to lug around a giant flag and go throw it out or donate it or whatever. Getting packages filled with this stuff every week is a major pain in the ass. I am not exaggerating or lying when I say that all I want is for publishers to send me their games, nothing more.

In what other ways do you think the advertisements on my website affect me? Maybe AC3 ads would pop up at the same time as an AC3 review, and sure, it'd certainly be understandable if readers were skeptical of that, but that's all way out of my control as a reviewer.
 

DCharlie

Always bet on white
Perhaps I'm not explaining myself very well. Press kits do not plant little seeds in my head. They bother me. I never got a flag or anything like that (maybe someone else in the office did; not sure) but if I did, I imagine if anything it would have a negative influence on me, since I'd have to lug around a giant flag and go throw it out or donate it or whatever. Getting packages filled with this stuff every week is a major pain in the ass. I am not exaggerating or lying when I say that all I want is for publishers to send me their games, nothing more.

In what other ways do you think the advertisements on my website affect me? Maybe AC3 ads would pop up at the same time as an AC3 review, and sure, it'd certainly be understandable if readers were skeptical of that, but that's all way out of my control as a reviewer.
Is there no forum between yourself and these departments to at least say "Please DO NOT send me these items?"
 
- There are a lot of problems in game journalism, but as my boss pointed out recently, it'd be disingenuous to suggest that those problems are EXCLUSIVE to game journalism
What are these problems you speak of? You don't really mention any in the post. I think spelling out what you think the problems are is getting more to the point. It's true, they're not at all exclusive to gaming journalism, but why link to the Apple event? Show the gaming equivalent that you think is problematic.

- Advertisements! Is it a conflict of interest to advertise for video games on a video game website? I don't know.
I think the answer is obviously yes. Money flows into your employer's office from the same people you guys are charged with reviewing impartially. I think it would be smarter to just acknowledge that it's a clear conflict of interest, and then pivot into talking about how you guys deal with it. For example, you spend the rest of the paragraph talking about your ad department and your editorial department like it's a church/state wall of separation. That's great. Doesn't that obviously say you know it's a dangerous conflict of interest then? I think that being aware of it is more encouraging than not knowing.

I won't wear t-shirts or bags or anything else with a video game or game company's brand/name.
I think the t-shirt thing makes sense, but I'm more interested in the day to day tone taken in articles read by all your readers; which has infinitely more influence than any t-shirt. It's still about the journalism, not the clothes. Are you more likely to stick in the word "fantastic" in the headline of a post about screenshots? Are you more likely to stick in a snarky jab at a game in the paragraphs? Where's the boundary between opinion pieces and factual reporting of news in a relatively unbiased way, and how do PR relationships shape that?

- The topic of PR-journalist relationships is quite an interesting one. I disagree with some of you in that I think it's perfectly okay for journalists and PR people to have cordial, friendly relationships. I also think there are levels: being casual acquaintances with someone is different than being good friends with someone which is different than getting married to someone. But it's futile to pretend we're at war. Journalists and PR people have totally different goals, but we have to work together, even when we all just want to strangle one another.
You kind of go past just "being okay" with being friends. You've actually written articles almost demanding that you be friends. After the Versus XIII cancellation rumor, you seemed kind of upset that SQEX didn't answer your inquiries instantly, even though they have no obligation to do so whatsoever. I don't know what this says about journalism honestly, except that it's extremely intertwined and dependent on PR guys. That dependence on access to the PR guys is part of the conflict of interest in having an extremely cozy relationship with them. Maybe it's not a factor for you guys, but it seems clear that parts of your job are kind of held hostage by them in the form of access, and that pissing them off threatens that access. In fact, Sony directly threatened Kotaku with loss of access in the past.

I've never felt like being friendly with PR folk has affected the way I do my job, and all the good PR people understand that journalists want to be as fair and as honest as possible when covering their companies.
What about the bad PR people? Do they assume something else? I just read a comment in Forbes about how Rockstar's PR goes out of their way to influence the press. They seem to be doing fine in the PR department. Here's the quote.

"Former Rockstar PR representative Todd Zuniga told Gamasutra that even half a point on a review score was a big deal, and that PR people would pick and choose which publications to give exclusives to based on how friendly that review was likely to be.

“At Rockstar there was a fear factor,” says Zuniga. “Our bosses tried to intimidate us into doing everything we could—it was total mental warfare. The big guys knew in their hearts that we couldn’t change a journalist’s mind, but they still pushed hard for us to try, just in case we could.”


- Let's talk about swag. Swag is a pain in the ass. Again, I can't speak for other people in journalism, but I can tell you that the giant limited editions and press kits I get are more trouble than they're worth. I want games, and I want to play as many games as possible (so I can better serve my readers) - all the other crap is usually just going in the trash bin. Maybe this stuff has some sort of subtle influence on me that I don't even know about, but I'd never even wear a t-shirt with a video game's name on it, let alone fill my apartment with flags or posters or whatever else companies are sending. I'm just not interested in any of that stuff.
I think you have to acknowledge the psychological effects of swag that you seemingly are unaware of. They send the stuff for a reason. It still affects how people view the game, even if they think it doesn't. If you unpack an elaborate press kit, with gorgeous extras and pop in a game that has been hyped by a PR person you're loosely friends with, you're already being influenced to some degree. I think a smarter angle would be to acknowledge that, and begin the dialogue of openly discussing how you resist this kind of thing, and how you think the profession needs to resist it as a whole.

Pretending it doesn't even matter seems disingenuous to me; or at the very least, a gross oversimplification. Commercials have the power to influence our thought processes subconsciously, so surely an elaborate physical object in your house would have even more effect, right?
 
1. Have you considered that maybe people are just friendly because they're people, and professionals, and we all recognize that we're just trying to do our jobs? I believe that it's possible to maintain cordial relationships with people in this industry without letting that affect me. And consequently...
I'm not saying that marketing and PR people are two-faced evildoers just trying to scam you guys while putting on a fake smile, but you really should be cognizant that there is a professional motivation to their being friendly and outgoing to journalists like you, even if there's also a personal motivation, and all of your interactions with them should be viewed in that light. Have you ever read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People? You should, because I guarantee almost everyone in PR and marketing has, and they're using it on you.
 
Please don't compare it with movie or music press. It's a very different industry. Movie and music industry is much more mature than gaming, and much more straight forward. Game reviews and previews are all about licking the most balls. Even if there is something majorly wrong with a game, if its hyped up, everyone will try to get that 9/10 rating out there. Movies and music can be reviewed in 2 hours sitting; games can't. At times, press doesn't even play the entire game and just want a review out there. You don't need to learn controls, get familiarized, and test out all aspects in movies or music.
 
An ad deal for Assassins Creed III is made months and months before the game ever gets to the reviewers. In my experience, I've never seen a company pull ads due to a negative review at any of the sites I represent. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen elsewhere, it's just I haven't seen it. I'm just throwing this out there. People want to believe one thing, but they also need to hear all sides of something before making a solid opinion.

And for the record, I disagree with the swag/gifts/parties stuff, personally. I think it shows a lack of professionalism on the part of the website, and journalism does in fact thrive on integrity. This being said, I do think people are over-exaggerating its effects at least a little bit. It's something that ABSOLUTELY must be discussed within the community, but I think going all out and attacking anything that makes money shows a lack of rational thinking and ultimately hurts the discussion.
 
An ad deal for Assassins Creed III is made months and months before the game ever gets to the reviewers. In my experience, I've never seen a company pull ads due to a negative review at any of the sites I represent. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen elsewhere, it's just I haven't seen it. I'm just throwing this out there. People want to believe one thing, but they also need to hear all sides of something before making a solid opinion.
And I am not saying it happens all the time or that it is fact but from an outside perspective: Company X bought all your ad space, amazingly awesome review for their latest product, tons of expensive parties/swag provided to your site from them. Then that "review" is most likely "influenced".

But anyone working there seems to not bat an eye and just say so what? If a reputable newspaper posted a glowing review of let's say the new apple ipad mini and right beside it is a full color 1 page for ipad minis... you don't think other news outlets would call them out?
 
Perhaps I'm not explaining myself very well. Press kits do not plant little seeds in my head. They bother me. I never got a flag or anything like that (maybe someone else in the office did; not sure) but if I did, I imagine if anything it would have a negative influence on me, since I'd have to lug around a giant flag and go throw it out or donate it or whatever.
So you'd donate a two grand press kit? Donate to where? And what stuff have you donated before?
 
And I am not saying it happens all the time or that it is fact but from an outside perspective: Company X bought all your ad space, amazingly awesome review for their latest product, tons of expensive parties/swag provided to your site from them. Then that "review" is most likely "influenced".

But anyone working there seems to not bat an eye and just say so what? If a reputable newspaper posted a glowing review of let's say the new apple ipad mini and right beside it is a full color 1 page for ipad minis... you don't think other news outlets would call them out?
I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I'm just saying that out of the many sites I help represent, it's never had an affect on a review. We have sold advertising space for games that have been trashed on nearly every site we have. I just wanted to put this out there so people don't think that every single site that has game advertising is all of a sudden inherently corrupt and un-trustable.
 
Has Kotaku really not posted an article about this?

Really?

If they have, I would love to give them my pageview, if someone would kindly link it.

EDIT: I don't think Schreier has to write it himself, but how in God's name does Kotaku, a site that reveled in getting blackballed by Sony for Home, sleep at night not acknowledging this?
Like this!

Stephen Totilo ‏@stephentotilo
I was extra-proud of Kotaku today. From breaking the G4 story to our Silicon Knights investigation. To our Starcraft piece and so much more.
and just so we don't forget:

jschreier said:
@BarackObama do you think it's ok for game journalists to advertise games as part of contests to win free PS3s get back to me asap please
jschreier said:
@KCoxDC @samusclone @BooDooPerson You guys do know that it's unethical to review games unless you've had a lobotomy, right?
jschreier said:
N'Gai Croal ‏@ncroal
Wondering if publicists are actually as all-powerful as message board conspiracy theorists make them out to be. #GameJournalismEthics
Jason Schreier ‏@jasonschreier
@ncroal hmmm how should I respond to this brb e-mailing my publicist
 
I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I'm just saying that out of the many sites I help represent, it's never had an affect on a review. We have sold advertising space for games that have been trashed on nearly every site we have. I just wanted to put this out there so people don't think that every single site that has game advertising is all of a sudden inherently corrupt and un-trustable.
And to be more of a devil's advocate here: why do you think company x bought all your ad space the week of their new product launch? (Cause I'm 100% sure they know months in advance when it's coming out)
 
And to be more of a devil's advocate here: why do you think company x bought all your ad space the week of their new product launch? (Cause I'm 100% sure they know months in advance when it's coming out)
Because that's when they want people to know about the game coming out? I'm not sure I understand the point you're trying to make here. If you think they bought it so our writers would go "gee, I sure am glad ubisoft bought all this ad space this week, I better write them a nice review" I can say without question that hasn't happened at all to any of the writers I work with. Does it happen elsewhere? I don't know.
 
Just stumbled upon this video of a German magazine where they show the new XBOX dashboard. Now the weird thing is that they have the "Walking Dead" theme in the background. There's basically no way that this was meant as an intentional PR ad for the show, but it still shows how ignorant journalists sometimes seem to be about what could make them look bad.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S0N8d5NISs


They cared enough to blur out the gamertag but I guess changing the theme would have been too much work.
 
Those happened? That is a thing?

That's some Romney 47% level disdain for the people that are supporting your livelihood.

inb4 "I was only joking" (maybe I'm late and that's already happened):

If those tweets were @ a random gamer, then they're jokes; if they are @ other journalists they are mocking, patronizing disdain.
 

DCharlie

Always bet on white
Originally Posted by jschreier:
@BarackObama do you think it's ok for game journalists to advertise games as part of contests to win free PS3s get back to me asap please
I KNOW i'm almost certainly missing context/tongue in cheek here but damn... i mean... i've worked in 4 different industries and in each industry the "advertise <this> win a <that>" for -any- of those 4 industries would almost certainly see me in hot water.

I've been pussyfooting around asking this but, hey, fuck it : is part the problem that the industry grows from enthusiast to part of the PR/relationship machinary on an almost individual basis that there's obviously no standard expectation of behaviour laid down, a limited code of ethics, only a loose understanding in a young industry that is yet to establish where the line is ?

I just can't fathom this sort of thing even remotely being questions in ANY of the 4 industries i've been in - it would be laid out , day 1, that this is NOT the done thing (with monthly mandatory training to revist the rules)
 
Morality arguments aside, if you're a journalist, and you tweet a hashtag for a game you're at an event for to win a PS3, you look really, really silly. I'm really glad this was sniffed out and GAF is talking about it. This thread is about bringing up facts so that people can form their own opinions. I absolutely love that. If people look at that list and go "I'm not sure I can trust these people anymore", that's ultimately a good thing in my opinion. However, this is why I also brought up my experience working in ad sales. If this is a thread about bringing up facts, I'm going to bring up the fact that no advertising dollars have ever affected a review on any one of the sites I represent. If you still look at a site and get iffy about a review because of all the advertising, more power to you. I just wanted to throw out more facts.
 
I can say without question that hasn't happened at all to any of the writers I work with. Does it happen elsewhere? I don't know.
It's like every single gaming press person has the same handbook to copy-paste canned replies but no code of ethics. How many times has this sentiment been stated in here now?

If stuff like this is rare and the exception then why does everyone go silent and deflect when it's discussed? "I don't work with those people, I don't feel like writing about it, Swag/Trips/Lavish Parties don't influence me..." If that is all you're coming in to say then don't bother. We've already heard it for the umpteenth time.

And no what we're discussing doesn't always happen. Nobody is saying it does. But bring up this topic and oop better sweep it under the rug like some dark dirty secret.
 
It's like every single gaming press person has the same handbook to copy-paste canned replies but no code of ethics. How many times has this sentiment been stated in here now?

If stuff like this is rare and the exception then why does everyone go silent and deflect when it's discussed? "I don't work with those people, I don't feel like writing about it, Swag/Trips/Lavish Parties don't influence me..." If that is all you're coming in to say then don't bother. We've already heard it for the umpteenth time.

And no what we're discussing doesn't always happen. Nobody is saying it does. But bring up this topic and oop better sweep it under the rug like some dark dirty secret.
No, I'm saying that because I really don't know. I just want to put out something I do know to add to the discussion. I really do not know if IGN gets paid to do reviews. I don't. I don't want to make that assumption because then if it's true, you won't even believe the truth I am telling. Do you want me to say "No, it doesn't happen anywhere?". The reason I ever brought this up in the first place is because I do NOT want to be silent. I want facts to be out there, and I'm just providing what I can.

You're ignoring what I had to say because you want to, and that's unfair. If you don't believe me that's okay, but don't trash my character.
 
Just to reiterate from last night: I think it is clearly not OK for a reporter to advertise for a game to win a PS3, and it is very, very clearly not OK for a reporter to also freelance for a company she covers.

My tweets quoted in this thread are also pretty clearly silly/snarky/tongue-in-cheek. If you don't think I should be joking about this on Twitter, that's OK. I disagree. I joke about a lot of things on Twitter, including issues in game journalism. The target of these jokes is not readers, so I don't quite understand the perspective that those jokes show disdain for my audience, but hey!
 
Just to reiterate from last night: I think it is clearly not OK for a reporter to advertise for a game to win a PS3, and it is very, very clearly not OK for a reporter to also freelance for a company she covers.

My tweets quoted in this thread are also pretty clearly silly/snarky/tongue-in-cheek. If you don't think I should be joking about this on Twitter, that's OK. I disagree. I joke about a lot of things on Twitter, including issues in game journalism. The target of these jokes is not readers, so I don't quite understand the perspective that those jokes show disdain for my audience, but hey!
You don't understand a lot of things that should be obvious, based on your posts in this thread. One more piled on top isn't that surprising.
 
Well we have at least a few documented cases, like the whole Kane and Lynch thing. So we do know it happens elsewhere, at least sometimes.
I believe this. I just wanted to say that it doesn't happen everywhere, and that I can't speak for those sites that I have no connection to. (or else i'd be lying)
 
You don't understand a lot of things that should be obvious, based on your posts in this thread. One more piled on top isn't that surprising.
Nasty thing to say.

I've made it quite clear that I take these issues seriously, and I think I've addressed everyone in this thread with a great deal of respect. I don't see myself above readers, nor do I view readers with any level of disdain. I have a ton of appreciation and gratitude for the people I try to serve every day. Silly jokes on Twitter don't take away from that, in my eyes. I'm sorry if you feel otherwise.
 

DCharlie

Always bet on white
The target of these jokes is not readers
again - i'll reiterate it - yet again : is the problem an utter lack of understanding that is a result of people graduating through the industry without any proper coaching/training/mentoring?

Again - in any other industry this is NOT AN EXCUSE. And that's a fundamental understanding. This might seem a bit trivial but i'm finding this repeated line (not just from you) infuriatingly naive

as a disclosure: My grand plan was to earn my cash and, i guess, in a couple of years from where i am now head into the gaming industry but - you know - after seeing more and more of the inner workings i think i'd just be smashing my head against a wall with frustration or sticking pencils up my nose and slamming my face into a desk to ALT-Q out.
 
So, nothing will change. Kotaku, IGN, GameSpot, GameInformer and the likes will always have a fresh supply of young people that won't bother with nothing else besides the "what's the most awesome video game that will release this month." That's the same audience PR people want to target, so, nothing will change. No party has the incentive to change the established system as they have nothing to win with that change (and perhaps they would even lose).
 
The target of these jokes is not readers, so I don't quite understand the perspective that those jokes show disdain for my audience, but hey!
Really? Tweet 1 is either mocking the idea that shilling for free consoles (the original thing Rab was writing about) is wrong, or that it is so unimportant you are sarcastically asking Obama to comment on it.

Tweet 2 is a reductio ad absurdum mocking those who claim reviewers are being influenced by colluding with PR.

Tweet 3 is you joining in on Ngai's smug circlejerk (along with a second Kotaku contributor I might add).

You don't see how anyone could interpet any of those tweets as showing disdain for your audience, much less all of them together? 'cause they're sure as hell not showing disdain for all the PR flacks you're tweeting to.

Let's add that on top of your repeated weaksauce excuses for not mentioning this issue on Kotaku, despite having plenty of time and motivation to join in here and on twitter, and writing about similar issues in the past. Paints a pretty picture, doesn't it?
 
Morning folks! I don't really want to talk more about why I haven't written about the whole PS3 contest/Wainwright thing (I think I made that pretty clear!)
Yes, you did make it absolutely clear your position on the issue and I still maintain that it is tremendously disingenuous on your part to exclude it from the scope of what you consider to be "covering the industry."
 
Like this!


Twitter quotes.
and just so we don't forget:
Embarrasing display. Sneering apathy with some good old fashioned Fan Bait (tm), it just missed some mention of the word entitlement and it could have been a paid Mass Effect 3 review. Its also funny how journalists always end up playing the victim game when put under the spotlight, just like Aegis (sp?) equating his style of not knowing how to make a proper methaphor to a "personal attack" and hostility in Neogaf, because according to him, we are a hivemind.

OH CHINESE GRANMA, U SO CRAZY, thanks for this great piece.
 

DCharlie

Always bet on white
So, nothing will change. Kotaku, IGN, GameSpot, GameInformer and the likes will always have a fresh supply of young people that won't bother with nothing else besides the "what's the most awesome video game that will release this month." That's the same audience PR people want to target, so, nothing will change. No party has the incentive to change the established system as they have nothing to win with that change (and perhaps they would lose even).
It seems to be already established from previous posts that :

- the target audience wouldn't care about the uproar
- the target audience are defined on hits and they correlate to big name games
- a general dismissing of any wrong doing - the relationships are fine, you have to trust us on this one and move on.

so, yes, nothing will change - but in reality, is there any real driver to succeed to pressure? From the above points anyone who would care about this whole incident aren't part of the target anyways. If i was in the game journos shoes, i'd just wait and ride things out - the internet moves fast, by wednesday we'll be talking about some other controversy like, i dunno, Wii U display units? Launch stock levels?

But ultimately, i expect no change. But then again - i long since lacked a need for gaming journalism anyways.
 
So, nothing will change. Kotaku, IGN, GameSpot, GameInformer and the likes will always have a fresh supply of young people that won't bother with nothing else besides the "what's the most awesome video game that will release this month." That's the same audience PR people want to target, so, nothing will change. No party has the incentive to change the established system as they have nothing to win with that change (and perhaps they would even lose).
Audiences can incentivize change.

Repost -- Many are eager to see people in the press address the matter (and several sites have been writing about it); some want promises that writers are taking palliative measures. The important thing, though, is that forums such as this are already skeptical, and there's no better corrective measure than that.

Whatever we want to think the press can do, what PR people can do, none of it will accomplish anything comparable to the result of audience scrutiny. GAF is great at this. It's why this thread exists. Sometimes we read signal where there's only really noise, sometimes we isolate the signal from the noise. So it goes.

I don't doubt that Shreier is being honest with himself when he writes that " I've never felt like being friendly with PR folk has affected the way I do my job, and all the good PR people understand that journalists want to be as fair and as honest as possible when covering their companies. If I ever felt like I was writing or covering a story differently because of a friendship with someone in the industry, I might reconsider this approach, but I've never had that experience." But we're all blind to our own blindnesses. In short, the proper path is the one GAF has walked all along: big, messy, boisterous, many-voiced discussions driven in equal part by enthusiasm and skepticism.

Thankfully, this isn't a field like medicine that (for the non-med students among us) is characterized by information disparities that disadvantage us and put us at the mercy of specialists. Second opinions are free and we needn't devote a month of research to determine whether or not a physician is painting the whole picture when prescribing a drug. Everyone here is as much an expert as the so-called specialists. When you smell bullshit, call bullshit (as is already the case).
 
Nasty thing to say.

I've made it quite clear that I take these issues seriously, and I think I've addressed everyone in this thread with a great deal of respect. I don't see myself above readers, nor do I view readers with any level of disdain. I have a ton of appreciation and gratitude for the people I try to serve every day. Silly jokes on Twitter don't take away from that, in my eyes. I'm sorry if you feel otherwise.
When no one writes about these things in an official capacity, I don't believe outlets take these things seriously. If your reaction to reading about this whole thing going down is to mock the "conspiracy theorists" which you implicitly agreed with when you replied to N'Gai without dissent, it shows that you don't believe that the people here talking about publisher and press's relationship being a serious problem in games journalism.

The one Microsoft employee that you shared the timeline picture with joked about "blacklisting" as if it isn't something that happens in reality. There are documented issues of "blacklisting" at Kotaku, GameSpot, and 1UP. There are many more from there. I don't think that laughing about that is appropriate when it is still a problem in game press. It is not some vestige of the past and even if it is, that should be something that creates contentiousness between PR and press or something that should be seen as a dark time in your relationship with PR.

It isn't seen as that. It is seen as a big inside joke between press and PR at the expense of the readers. When you join in those conversations, it looks like the "us" is PR and Press against readers rather than the way it should be the readers and press challenging publishers.
 
Nasty thing to say.

I've made it quite clear that I take these issues seriously, and I think I've addressed everyone in this thread with a great deal of respect. I don't see myself above readers, nor do I view readers with any level of disdain. I have a ton of appreciation and gratitude for the people I try to serve every day. Silly jokes on Twitter don't take away from that, in my eyes. I'm sorry if you feel otherwise.
I take these issues seriously, yet I don't see the need to talk about them on the site I write for and have the chance to discuss things with a large reader base. I'd rather bitch about the new iPad coming out or have Brian Ashcraft write another shit post about how JAPAN IS SO WACKY OMG~!

I don't see myself above readers but I brush away any concern that trips, swag, being best pals with PR, or any other perks could ever influence me because I'm a miracle of modern psychology and immune to all outside influences even with studies and examples proving that it is impossible.

I have a ton of appreciation and gratitude for the people I try to serve every day except for the previous examples where I don't care about their concerns regarding bias, favoritism, or other issues with PR influencing the things that I write.

Instead I'll just assume the comment made was about the lame jokes I made on Twitter and not about anything else I've posted in here that shows I clearly don't understand the issues that are being discussed.
 
Just to reiterate from last night: I think it is clearly not OK for a reporter to advertise for a game to win a PS3, and it is very, very clearly not OK for a reporter to also freelance for a company she covers.

My tweets quoted in this thread are also pretty clearly silly/snarky/tongue-in-cheek. If you don't think I should be joking about this on Twitter, that's OK. I disagree. I joke about a lot of things on Twitter, including issues in game journalism. The target of these jokes is not readers, so I don't quite understand the perspective that those jokes show disdain for my audience, but hey!
The problem is that on one hand you claim that it wouldn't be worth your time to write a story on the subject, and yet on the other hand you have no problem spending time on a message board talking about it. Funny Tweets would be okay if the site you work for wasn't ignoring the issue. So it just looks weird for you to say it's not something your readers care about, and yet you obviously have an opinion on it. Wouldn't your readers be interested in what you have to say?
 
The problem is that on one hand you claim that it wouldn't be worth your time to write a story on the subject, and yet on the other hand you have no problem spending time on a message board talking about it. Funny Tweets would be okay if the site you work for wasn't ignoring the issue. So it just looks weird for you to say it's not something your readers care about, and yet you obviously have an opinion on it. Wouldn't your readers be interested in what you have to say?
I think that is the big elephant in the room with every outlet. No one wants to speak out against the system or they will get the same treatment as the writer of the EuroGamer piece got. PR will hate you for pointing at "the man behind the curtain" and other writers will hate you for making them look bad.
 
So, nothing will change. Kotaku, IGN, GameSpot, GameInformer and the likes will always have a fresh supply of young people that won't bother with nothing else besides the "what's the most awesome video game that will release this month." That's the same audience PR people want to target, so, nothing will change. No party has the incentive to change the established system as they have nothing to win with that change (and perhaps they would even lose).
I disagree with the premise that things need to "change" at Kotaku. We are constantly striving to improve ourselves, of course, but even just yesterday we had some phenomenal reporting on our website.

We published this tremendous story about Silicon Knights (which I'm sure did not please too many PR folks): http://kotaku.com/5955223/what-went-wrong-with-silicon-knights-x+men-destiny

We were first to break news on G4 canceling its gaming shows: http://kotaku.com/5955278/crisis-at-g4-studios-gaming-shows-will-be-cancelled-source-says

We posted this fascinating essay on the idea of mystery in gaming: http://kotaku.com/5955326/we-are-explorers-in-search-of-mystery-in-videogames

I put together a piece on the current state of SC2 that I think is very interesting: http://kotaku.com/5954973/as-fans-say-starcraft-is-dying-blizzard-plans-some-big-changes

And that was all in a single day. The conversation about whether we should be covering this Wainwright story is a separate issue, but it's disingenuous to say that all we do is concentrate on "what's the most awesome video game that will release this month."
 
Just to reiterate from last night: I think it is clearly not OK for a reporter to advertise for a game to win a PS3, and it is very, very clearly not OK for a reporter to also freelance for a company she covers.

My tweets quoted in this thread are also pretty clearly silly/snarky/tongue-in-cheek. If you don't think I should be joking about this on Twitter, that's OK. I disagree. I joke about a lot of things on Twitter, including issues in game journalism. The target of these jokes is not readers, so I don't quite understand the perspective that those jokes show disdain for my audience, but hey!
A lot of your readers showed distress at the way games journalists who accept items from publishers of the games they will be reviewing (regardless of the time period in between), to which you make sarcastic 'tongue-in-cheek' jibes against them. rather than re-assuring them that you do not take part in these affairs and you really can't see why you might be offending them? I think that either you know very well that your Tweets offended some of your readers and are just putting on a front to save face or you genuinely can't see how what you wrote could offend/annoy someone, in which case I personally would find great difficulty in trusting any article you write.
 
The problem is that on one hand you claim that it wouldn't be worth your time to write a story on the subject, and yet on the other hand you have no problem spending time on a message board talking about it. Funny Tweets would be okay if the site you work for wasn't ignoring the issue. So it just looks weird for you to say it's not something your readers care about, and yet you obviously have an opinion on it. Wouldn't your readers be interested in what you have to say?
Do you think a lot of Kotaku readers are that interested in this story? I think a lot of GAF posters are, because a lot of GAF posters are fascinated by this sort of inside baseball stuff, but I think that makes up a rather small chunk of our audience, to be honest.
 
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