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Reader Comments (74)

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 6:36PM Djinn said

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@Jef Reahard "Another thing that sticks in my craw is the way readers sometimes confuse journalism with game journalism. The two aren't often the same thing, and in fact the latter term is a complete misnomer...There are many reasons "game journalism" isn't journalism at all"

Well, I suppose its good this is an opinion piece - I guess your assertion above is a statement of opinion vs. fact (which it is not). And I don't know how you can assert that there aren't ANY actual game journalists. I don't suppose you can say you know every single game reporter in the world. Your opinion pieces would go a lot farther with me without all of this baggage ruining what is a perfectly good work of logic and supposition.

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 6:42PM Bhagpuss said

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As a player I'm actually much more interested in the actual press releases and official statements than any "journalism" related to them. For my money (that's no money, of course), you could drop all the opinion pieces and publish verbatim press releases and official interviews in which the company mouthpiece is allowed siimply to make the statements he or she wishes.

My interest in sites like Massively/MMORPG.com etc is as clearing houses for this official information so I don't have to trawl through 20 company sites to pick it up. Opinion pieces I go directly to bloggers for, and then almost entirely because I enjoy reading them as writers, not for information.

Oh, and the idea of holding Lester Bangs up as any kind of model of journalistic integrity did make me smile.


Posted: Jan 11th 2011 7:03PM Locus said

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So you feel that game journalism isn't "true journalism"; which begs the question: Why don't you try? All things should strive (assuming, of course, that you believe that "true journalism" is intrinsically of more value than game journalism.)

The problem with your article is that it empowers cherry-picking and "no true Scotsman" arguments. You're essentially writing a (somewhat wordy) article about the failure of objectivity as judged from a subjective viewpoint and a subjective view of journalism, which is quite the pointless contradiction.

If we changed perspective and redefined journalism as the "reporting of news", then game journalism would qualify as journalism. Press releases aren't limited to games - they're predigested subjective statements, but that's irrelevant because it is the act of dissemination that creates the journalist in this case, hence the term "reporter".

That's not to say this perspective is any more true than your view of what "true journalism" is, but yet this perspective exists. Suffice to say, your outlook is too narrow - you still require more thought.

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 7:25PM Cendres said

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Nice article on Massively. I once had the wrong impression this site or some of it's writers were trying to be journalists. Good to be proven wrong, because as you and Beau have said you are paid bloggers. And being paid to blog isn't far removed from actual journalism but it has more versatility and freedom to say what you and how you want to.

I do think it IS possible for game journalism to actually exists one day. But that will require gamers to start taking themselves seriously, which many of us still don't do. I'd love to see professional game critics like we see for movies, some attempt it but there is still too much sensationalism involved to really achieve it.

I think there is a place for blog professional blogging and news reporting, I look forward to see if anything comes of it in this industry, pie of Entertainment.

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 8:11PM Locus said

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Now that I have the time to write more comprehensively, I'd also like to point out that you're committing a fallacy of institution. It is not being a journalist that enables you to perform journalism, but the other way around.

Being a blogger does not exclude you from performing journalism. A person that has studied medicine might be able to save someone's life despite not being a doctor. Therefore, being a doctor is not a prerequisite for performing an act of medicine. I can therefore argue that unless you define a blogger or a "game journalist" as "someone incapable of performing journalism", your argument is completely unsound.

Let's take a deeper look at your threefold logic:

1) Game journalists are not journalists because they (all) desire to be game designers themselves and are therefore not objective.

2)(All) Game journalists are not journalists because some journalists lack professional standards.

I don't think these top two statements of Hasty Generalization rhetoric deserve a rebuttal, but for the logically inept (that post panegyric like "What a well thought out post you wrote!"), arguments such as "All green haired people must be killers because this green haired person killed somebody" are generally not taken seriously. Neither is the argument "I don't know any actors who aren't short, so all actors must be short".

3)Game journalism isn't journalism because the release of news on games is a one-sided affair controlled by the game companies.

As mentioned before, there are issues with the definition of journalism here, but there's a hidden twofold Hasty Gen here under the sub-textual argument "All news in game journalism comes from press releases" and "All game journalists only publish press releases".

From this, I can push the subjective hypotheses:
1) Your grasp of rhetoric is poor as you have a bad habit of committing the same logical fallacy repeatedly.

2) You are most definitely not a journalist by your own definition (And therefore nobody is a game journalist? Ahahaha.) Please don't ever try to be a lawyer.

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 10:09PM Jef Reahard said

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@Locus

"You are most definitely not a journalist by your own definition (And therefore nobody is a game journalist? Ahahaha"

Ah yes, the logician, one in every thread, lol. Did I really say that "no one" is a game journalist, or is that more of a wild extrapolation meant to punch up a fairly weak argument? Seems to me that a little less time at the thesaurus and a little more time reading what I actually wrote might serve you well.

/tiphat
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Posted: Jan 12th 2011 5:11AM Locus said

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@Jef Reahard

You most definitely did imply it with your reasoning in the above article. I suggest actually reading what you wrote - you may find it edifying. It's called "proof editing" and it's apparently quite difficult for you to do.
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Posted: Jan 12th 2011 5:19AM Locus said

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@Jef Reahard

Or to quote verbatim:

"There are many reasons "game journalism" isn't journalism at all, but in the interests of paring a few thousand words off of this piece, I'll boil it down to the three most important."

Oh hey look - a sweeping irrational absolute statement that prefaces your three most important points. Try adding the words "most" in front of the words "game journalism" and you might actually find your position tenable.

(P.S.: Thesauruses are so passé. Try a vocabulary instead. It's so very convenient.)
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Posted: Jan 12th 2011 2:41PM Dril said

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@Locus

Just so you know: I can write in a style that uses a veritable cornucopia of words and phrases, the majority of which are obscure and, frankly, arbitrary in their usage, with little heed paid to their overt and prevalent definition.

Fact is, writing in a style which is frankly incomprehensible in some areas *does not make your argument valid, or make you look more intelligent.* I wrote like that for my English essays, not for debating on the internet. Sentences are meaningless if the writer (i.e. you) has not set, as their primary objective, to make sure the other person understands their point and underlying message; especially since you have only the words on the screen to guide you as to what the writer's intent is.

Also, any illusion that you try (unsuccessfully) to throw up of superior intelligence is immediately shattered by your equally "sweeping, irrational, absolute statements." Proof-reading is an area you may wish to look into as well.

@Jef: Yeah, it's a good article, but methinks it's somewhat odd coming from a Massively writer. With all due respect: regurgitating press releases and giving easy interviews is a lot of what you guys do.

But the idea is very sound and very agreeable. Hence, brownies are awarded.
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Posted: Jan 12th 2011 3:20PM Cendres said

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@Dril Thanks for saying what I was thinking to Locus.

The way I take this article is that Jef and Massively knows what they do is most of the time is not journalism, and they're okay with that.

And the more I think on it, so am I. One day maybe we will see actual 'gaming journalism', there's some of it in print publication that skims the line but counts as journalism. This is more blog news in gaming and blog opinion pieces.
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Posted: Jan 12th 2011 7:40PM Locus said

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@Dril

My good man, I don't need to throw up a facade for something I know to be demonstratively true, as shown by the fact that you even chose to reply to my post without addressing any of the content that I actually raised. Did you honestly think I would be "humbled" by your irrelevant opinion, especially when you raise absolutely nothing relevant?

Just because you possess inferior reading skills doesn't mean that you should drag everyone down to your level. Do you honestly believe I used any archaic terms or obscure verbiage? I wonder if you could even make it through something as simple as an Agatha Christie novel. Your farcical attempt at using flowery speech left me quite in tears of amusement and despair - if I'm going to be reproached by an opinionated fanatic with irrelevant arguments, I'd at least expect him to be somewhat competent. Your teachers have a lot to answer for.
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Posted: Jan 12th 2011 7:51PM Locus said

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@Cendres

Oh look, an eloquent sock puppet. (/sarcasm)

You have to learn to speak for yourself, darling - instead of leeching onto other opinions and going "me too!".

I hypothesize that your entire doom and gloom perspective on the oh-so-deplorable state of game journalism is somewhat related to the fact that you are using DC's representation of Death as your avatar and therefore you desperately want to be a goth. There - I've used sweeping generalizations, personal attacks and faulty reasoning; just like your hero Jeff. You may start worshipping me now. (rolls eyes)
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Posted: Jan 13th 2011 3:42PM Dril said

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@Locus

I'm not a good man, I'm a dreadful person. Please refrain from bestowing me with fanciful titles that do little to shadow your half-hearted contempt for my writing.

And since I've just gone running, I really can't be arsed to lower myself to your level, so I'll write in bullet points:

-intelligence isn't demonstrated. -5%
-your "content" is just an attack on Jef's logic. -10%
-I did raise something relevant. Mayhaps you missed the @Jef part. Speaking of novels, you yourself can't even make it through a meagre comment. Fascinating! -20%
-unsteady grasp of punctuation: you can't quote that which I didn't say, and "humbled" requires no emphasis. -5%
-again, archaic was never mentioned, arbitrary was. Confusion, perhaps? -5%
-ludicrous, hypocritical and unfounded attacks that, again, don't make you seem intelligent. -20%
-all of your peers, parents and any other people who have shaped your life should be dreadfully ashamed of producing such an arrogant, snide and hopelessly incompetent individual. -40%

In total, your score was -5%.

I had a lot of fun.
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Posted: Jan 11th 2011 9:44PM Samael said

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Massively does this a lot. I am yet to see an interview that asked any hard questions. It is always rosy and peachy.

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 10:03PM SnarlingWolf said

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I've read this type of thing from a few people and I will tell you why I don't buy it at all.

Real journalism covers stories about life/death/war/government decisions that affect millions of people/serious crimes that affected many and touched many more.

Game journalists cover games, yes that is simply it, games. They aren't something to be taken so seriously, they are something for fun and THAT IS IT.

I think the real problem is too many people take games so serious when they should take them as a simple form of entertainment meant to have some fun.

I look at games from the second form. I want to have fun. When I go looking for "journalism" on games it is really just that I want information on games. I want reviews, sneak peeks, interviews, upcoming features, etc. I don't want someone to sit down and try to be Barbara Walters with a dev and go for the hard hitting questions. It is a game, I don't care about the hard hitting questions. If I stop liking a game, or dislike a decision made by the devs I can simply stop paying for it and send my thoughts myself. I don't need someone being journalist superman doing the asking for me.

I think that is the main reason why game journalists will never be like real journalists. They're covering something that is extremely unimportant compared to other issues in life and it would almost be insulting for people to start taking it that seriously.

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 10:04PM YogiFYG said

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I understand what you are aiming at and agree that things need to change in order for the quality of News Reporting to rise in the gaming industry, but you start off the article with only one definition of journalism where there are many listed.

Definition of JOURNALISM (Websters also)

1
a : the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media
b : the public press
c : an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium
2
a : writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine
b : writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation
c : writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest

Some of these definitions can easily be used to describe several gaming news sources. The English language is an ever evolving beast. Sure writers may not be as devoted to investigative journalism as say they are to reporting the news with a journalism degree, but that doesn't mean one isn't a journalist by definition. If we used this article to judge all journalism in the US and the world, most would fall short. Given that most fall under the definitions listed for journalism, I don't think that is any reason to say that they are not journalists for not fitting in one definition.

I'm currently working on a degree in this field and I think you bring up valid concerns. I think the industry needs more investigative journalism. That doesn't mean the industry lacks a lot of decent journalists that actively write what I would constitute as journalism by definition.

Yes the industry is chalked full of horrible journalists/bloggers/writers. Not everyone will produce good journalism. Yet in many cases it is journalism, even if the quality is less than we would like to include. By keeping the definition of journalism so narrow, you make journalism elitist in nature.

Reporting on facts is Journalism. Writing an opinion based on facts just writing.

Both are plentiful in this industry. Quality can be debated.

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 10:12PM Jef Reahard said

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@YogiFYG

Completely agreed, though I will point out that my personal definition of "journalism" is basically the source I linked at journalism.org early in the piece. Much as I would've liked to copy/paste that entire 9-point definition in the article, it was impractical to do so.
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Posted: Jan 11th 2011 11:45PM YogiFYG said

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@Jef Reahard

As with all words, personal interpretations exist. I can't agree with you that Game Journalism doesn't exist. I can however agree that the professionalism that makes great journalism is sorely lacking in the industry. Hopefully other would be writers will take note of these points and use them (be it agree or disagree) to better themselves in the future.

In any case, this was a great read and interesting to see your interpretations.
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Posted: Jan 11th 2011 10:19PM Skyydragonn said

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explain to me then why half of my evening news is litered with controversy abour multimillionaire hollywood socialites?

Posted: Jan 11th 2011 11:04PM Omali said

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" Is it because you want to be a dev? Is it because you want to be a writer/journalist? "

Mark me down for the latter.

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