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

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On the other hand props to Schreier for at least trying, even though he has a fundamental and apparently insurmountable misunderstanding of what the issues here actually are
I think the issues are pretty clear. Several reporters did something gross (PS3 contest), one reporter did something completely out of line (worked for a company she covered), and a columnist was either fired or stepped down because he wrote about all of this, his story was edited, and lawsuits were allegedly threatened.

This led to a broader conversation about ethics in game journalism and some of the issues that surround it. That, to me, is far more interesting than the previous incidents. It's pretty clear that what all those folks did was wrong; what's less black-and-white is the stuff I talked about earlier, like the relationships between PR and reporters, the effects of press junkets on reviewers, and all that goddamned swag.

As I mentioned, I believe there are different levels of what's okay and what isn't, and it's up to individual reporters and websites to sort that out. And I think that's an interesting discussion to have, but the topic keeps getting steered back to what Kotaku is or is not covering, unfortunately.

If I am misunderstanding something, please let me know.
 
I know there isn't much to really talk about now but with this thread slowing down and no one else really talking about it. This issue is doing exactly what the 'journalists' that refuse to cover it want... it's going away.

In a couple of days or even a week, most people won't be talking about it anymore just like they want.
 
That's pretty disappointing for Totilo. I understand not wanting to jump to conclusions about anyone, but not even putting up a brief summary of the known things that have happened thus far is mind-boggling.

Or just an opinion column directed at other people who write about games as to how to avoid the appearance of impropriety and what they as an outlet do to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
 
I think the issues are pretty clear. Several reporters did something gross (PS3 contest), one reporter did something completely out of line (worked for a company she covered), and a columnist was either fired or stepped down because he wrote about all of this, his story was edited, and lawsuits were allegedly threatened.

This led to a broader conversation about ethics in game journalism and some of the issues that surround it. That, to me, is far more interesting than the previous incidents. It's pretty clear that what all those folks did was wrong; what's less black-and-white is the stuff I talked about earlier, like the relationships between PR and reporters, the effects of press junkets on reviewers, and all that goddamned swag.

As I mentioned, I believe there are different levels of what's okay and what isn't, and it's up to individual reporters and websites to sort that out. And I think that's an interesting discussion to have, but the topic keeps getting steered back to what Kotaku is or is not covering, unfortunately.

If I am misunderstanding something, please let me know.
I'd add that it's worth a discussion if gaming media should have a limited code of ethics which facilitates peer criticism and review.
 
I guess what I learned is I should just read the reviews from the NYT video games page.
Do you read any Tom Bissell? He's the guy that everybody at Kotaku and the rest of the gaming press should be looking up to, a guy doing video game journalism and criticism right. Check his work out at Grantland or pick up his book Extra Lives.
 
I know there isn't much to really talk about now but with this thread slowing down and no one else really talking about it. This issue is doing exactly what the 'journalists' that refuse to cover it want... it's going away.

In a couple of days or even a week, most people won't be talking about it anymore just like they want.
I sure as heck am not going to forget about it. This conversation has got me thinking about this stuff more than I have before and some of the stuff that has been brought to light--like that Assassin's Creed 3 PR kit and the general unwillingness to cover the issue--is not something I am going to forget soon.
 
I think the issues are pretty clear. Several reporters did something gross (PS3 contest), one reporter did something completely out of line (worked for a company she covered), and a columnist was either fired or stepped down because he wrote about all of this, his story was edited, and lawsuits were allegedly threatened.

This led to a broader conversation about ethics in game journalism and some of the issues that surround it. That, to me, is far more interesting than the previous incidents. It's pretty clear that what all those folks did was wrong; what's less black-and-white is the stuff I talked about earlier, like the relationships between PR and reporters, the effects of press junkets on reviewers, and all that goddamned swag.

As I mentioned, I believe there are different levels of what's okay and what isn't, and it's up to individual reporters and websites to sort that out. And I think that's an interesting discussion to have, but the topic keeps getting steered back to what Kotaku is or is not covering, unfortunately.

If I am misunderstanding something, please let me know.
The problem, like I mentioned before, is the gap between how you see yourselves and how we see you.

You see yourselves as fundamentally good and honest people that constantly have to make deals with the devil to do work that you love. You think that being friendly with PR is just part of the job and there's nothing wrong with it. You think that endemic advertising on your sites doesn't make a difference in how you write about the product.

We see you as being chummy with the salesmen that are constantly lying to us directly or indirectly and trying to get us to buy absolutely everything that comes out. We think you're friends with them and very naturally don't want to piss them off. We see a good review for a game surrounded by ads for that same game and think there is obviously monetary influence at play.

Now I'm sure that reality lies somewhere between these two points, closer to one or the other depending on the site and the writer. I am certainly willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and I definitely don't think that most or even a good number of you are on the take.

But the reaction to this mess has made the contrast between your audience's viewpoint and your own all the more stark. From your point of view the Twitter reactions are just jokes, and putting myself in your shoes it makes sense. People are constantly accusing you of being totally corrupt so I'm sure it becomes very difficult to tell the difference between that and someone who genuinely wants to engage you in conversation on these issues. For the average gamer though, we see someone decry PR shilling in an article immediately lose his job over legal threats, followed by mockery towards the article, its precepts, and the readers that are taking it seriously all coming from what looks like a combined group of writers and PR acting very friendly with one another.
 
Shit like that makes me clench my fists. They've been so conditioned by the way they operate for so many years of relationship with PR they don't even understand this is wrong. Like I said, it's the way things go by and they have zero interest into changing the way it works.

In what kind of shit world is unboxing an Halo 4 console more worthwhile than a story such as this one? In a PR controlled world, our.
 
For all of the threads and posts I've seen other Gaffers write here about their disdain for Kotaku from the past couple of years, in lieu of these events, that disdain is making them (Kotaku) lose credibility.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
 
Do you read any Tom Bissell? He's the guy that everybody at Kotaku and the rest of the gaming press should be looking up to, a guy doing video game journalism and criticism right. Check his work out at Grantland or pick up his book Extra Lives.
It's telling that one of the best possible examples of writing about gaming works almost exclusively outside of the sphere of influence of "games journalism"
 
It's about PR influence on what is supposed to be unbiased organizations. Not only, in this case, is PR telling them what to say, but you could argue they're also buying them out with this needlessly extravagant box set. If you don't see anything wrong with the latter, or at least the former, something is wrong with you.
Pretty much. They're not buying a review score. I don't think it's that blatant. They're buying that smile on their faces as they unbox a cool new system. They're buying the ability to start building up hype in the reviewer (and side bonus, the audience!). They're buying the ability to catch the editor in chief's attention and remind him, "Halo 4 is a big deal!"

They don't need Kotaku to make youtube videos of the system for them. They could if they wanted to by themselves obviously.

This goes back to the murky area of psychological conditioning, swag, press kits, PR friendships, and how that affects people. Seems pretty clear really. I would be affected if someone was constantly sending me cool things. Who wouldn't? That's kind of the whole point.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
Did you receive it for free? That does make a difference here.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
When you are repeating lines that Microsoft pushed you to say, it shows that you are thinking about those PR lines when creating editorials. Stephen incorporated PR bullet points into a piece of independent editorial content.
 
It's ok because it is apparently part of a regular series titled "Publicity Stunts We Fell For..."

You'd think that with all of the not-so-subtle hints Ubisoft PR dropped, that I would've figured out that there was going to be a tiger at our Far Cry 3 preview event last week. "It'll be grrrrreat!" they wrote. "Be sure to come on Wednesday, as we'll have a… special guest!"
It's a fucking PR circus. Literally.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
How about the fact that it's the editor-in-chief of Koatku doing the unboxing? You don't think that changes the tone of the video at all than if you has a bunch of interns do the unboxing?
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
LOL, no jumping on your throat, I've been iompressed with yoru tenacity in the face of pretty overhwleming criticism. The complaint I have is the claim of QUALITY JOURNALISM and CAN'T BE BOTHERED juxtaposed with BOX OPENING
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
I think its the Totilo qoute + the video not the video exclusively.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
Because it shows that a large part of your content is driven by PR. You even literally quote the PR and display their products better than any ad for them could.

Fine. But then don't go and tell people that talking about PR and its influence isn't relevant to your site and your readers. It clearly is relevant because it directly influences a lot of what you decide to post as news stories.
 
I'm curious, but is there any way that sites can just tell all publishers that they don't want anything other than review copies of games? No LE's, press kits etc. Just a review copy and that's it.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
It's not the unboxing part alone. It's the whole image. It tells you that your website, and judging by the deafining silence of all other major website, consider covering a crucial and critical story as not important. And your definition of game journalism is instead to be mouth pieces of PR.

Can you really not see that?
 
My point is that you and people like you need to constantly be thinking about how your speech and actions make you look and avoid anything that could make people question your integrity. It's the only way you can gain the trust of a demanding and critical readership, which is what I think you should be aspiring to do.

I know this is incredibly difficult and there's lots of grey area, but it's the choice you make when you decide to become a writer. I also know you think that this is what you do every day but it's not enough. I'm glad that you refuse gifts and trips but you need to be more aware of your relationship with PR, and the fact that you said you think it's OK to be friendly with them worries me. I'm not saying that press should be overtly hostile to PR of course, and a cordial and professional relationship is fine. But the minute you say "friendly" you make me think that your judgement is compromised.

Also, every single upstanding member of the press needs to be calling this stuff out and publicly pushing at their peers to improve themselves at every opportunity, and this is especially where I think most of them are failing. It's shitty but right now the fact that so many writers feel that free shit from PR is OK taints every single one of you and it is your collective responsibility to start cleaning it up.
 
When you are repeating lines that Microsoft pushed you to say, it shows that you are thinking about those PR lines when creating editorials. Stephen incorporated PR bullet points into a piece of independent editorial content.
Uhm, all companies do this specifically to inform what is in the package. Dunno, seems like grasphing at straws trying to link journalistic integrity with... an unboxing.

Like the funnier thing would be "Top ten cosplay tips for Holloween", that is some quality journalism.
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
First of all:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npHDxSvwCE0

Second:
Jason, you have now spent about twice as much time and effort and written three times as many words defending the fact that you're not writing a story as it would have taken to actually write and publish a story.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe your video game playing audience is less interested in an article about whether game writers are being jerked around like puppets on a string than they are in articles about why we should be happy and play the games we have instead of looking forward to new ones or why you're disappointed in your iPad 3.

I know I was SCREAMING for articles on THAT shit.

Third:
You guys need to out in front of this more than any other site out there, besides maybe Eurogamer.





Never forget.
 
you can't dismiss this journalism story as being tired and boring and not worth your valuable time which is spent doing great work

then instead dedicate your time to an unboxing video. the most inane thing possible.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
Youtube is a pretty good source for superficial stuff like that...Sounds to me like you guys could use your "expertise" for more intricate stories...Just saying.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
Nothing too horrible about it. But they could be doing real journalism and discussing an actual, very significant issue that everyone wants to talk about except the journalists themselves. A more useful service to readers would be acting like actual journalists, not super-ironically playing with your toys instead of addressing something that people are screaming in your ear that we want you to address.
 
Guys, all we have to do is chip in. If we send a fucking Tiger to Kotaku with gold plated limited edition Xbox 360 in its mouth then we can send an accompanying "PR sheet" about ethics and PR influence. They would probably read some of our "PR statements" in the video they did about how rad the tiger with the blinged out Xbox we sent them was.
 
Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.


you gotta be kidding me

only "press release rewrite factories" would consider that newsworthy
 
You guys don't understand. It takes a lot of effort to do good games journalism and you wouldn't want them to do a lazy or sleazy post on this subject would you? So you can't criticise them for having mostly lazy and sleazy posts on their blog for this reason because, wait, I just remembered I have an important appointment. BRB.
 
LOL, no jumping on your throat, I've been iompressed with yoru tenacity in the face of pretty overhwleming criticism. The complaint I have is the claim of QUALITY JOURNALISM and CAN'T BE BOTHERED juxtaposed with BOX OPENING
Unboxing videos are ridiculously easy hits. They don't require a lot of time to create and people apparently like to watch them. Unboxing videos is an easy way for a publisher to get on the front page when they're already through with all of their pre-release marketing but want some extra space on a website / extra mentions.

They'll send out a nice box full of stuff and achieve two things: a) They might get a video out of this and b) A big box with loads of stuff to crawl through always gets more attention than a disc in a paper sleeve.

While we're talking about unboxing videos: IGN uploaded one for MS's surface that probably wasn't meant to be that way.
 
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