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Reader Comments (74)

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 12:29AM shillagan said

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I agree with most of this; but I hope that you have actually read Bangs and are not going off a fictional representation of him in a movie. Bangs as a music journalist did not represent your typical "journalism," and if you need proof read his writings from "Cream" or check out the book Psychotic reactions and carburetor dung. Game Journalism can work and just like non-game journalism should not be objective but rather subjective; just as Bangs was as well as many other writers of the 60's and 70's or even today. There is an infatuation with Objectivity with Journalism, yet some of the greatest journalist and authors were/are not; Thompson, Wolfe, Bangs, Sacco, Hemingway, Twain, Crouse and more. In my opinion Game journalism should focus on how gaming affects society and not on dev or publusher pr notes as you said.

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 6:00AM Suhaira said

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I would love to see real journalism in the mmo industry, but I'm not optimistic enough to believe it will happen.
Too many personal relationships.

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 6:22AM Brockobama321 said

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Wait so what you're telling me is that...the whole video game journalistic and critic structure is flawed?

My god why hasn't anyone been saying this all along.


Oh wait, I have.


Seriously, as for reviews, the only true critic anymore is Yahtzee, the rest are just paid off flubs for the publishers.

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 10:54AM mszv said

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Good article -- and yes, entertainment reporting is still reporting.

You can be respectful of your subjects and still ask questions and attempt to elicit truthfull answers. Terry Gross does it all the time.

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 11:10AM Djinn said

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I can point to at least 2 columns on this very site that are examples of "investigative journalism": The Game Archaeologist and Community Detective. Oh and the latter, which might even be considered "hard hitting", is your own column!

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 12:16PM Nandini said

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This is a pretty scathing indictment of the majority of reporting that appears on Massively (and Joystiq's other divisions, too).

Congratulations on actually getting this published, Jef!

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 3:25PM mysecretid said

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Yes, internet journalist is largely a self-designated title, and journalistic integrity on the internet is ultimately the responsibility of the individual who calls him- or herself a journalist.

Also, the internet is awash in opinion, and many people seem incapable, or unwilling, to distinguish between a genuinely journalistic attempt at, say, review ... and something like this:

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/558516

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 3:48PM Peretz said

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Jef: Thank you for writing this article.

Massively: Thank you for publishing this article.

I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Communication and my focus was in journalism. I attempted to "break into" print journalism, but after being exposed to the industry and maintaining my opinion that local broadcast news is a farce ("Ten chemicals in your house could kill your baby dead! Find out what they are after this commercial break."), I decided that I would rather work elsewhere.

I've played video games since my parents bought me a NES. I still play games today and make no apologies for my hobby. Video games are an important part of our culture now, for better or worse.

Playing video games for 25 years, earning a degree in Communication (which I took seriously, regardless whether my classmates did or not), and having worked as a professional journalist gives me a unique perspective on the issue of "game journalism." In short: There's no such thing. Not yet, anyway.

So it's refreshing to see the same concerns, professional standards, and frustration being discussed on a major gaming blog. (Frustration, in my opinion, is a sign that one has not given up.) It inspires hope that "game journalism" may one day be a real thing. Yes, things will have to change drastically and it will take time, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

Jef: Thank you again for your writing, your professionalism, and your honesty.

Posted: Jan 12th 2011 4:22PM waqqashanafi said

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I think the problem is that game developers and game publishers act like celebrities and treat game journalists like crap. If game developers and publishers acted professionally with game journalists then they'd be treated the same way.

Posted: Jan 13th 2011 12:13PM Lerkero said

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I love this article.

I never call them by the name "game journalists"

I either go by gaming press or game enthusiasts. It feels much more natural. Listening to some of the gaming podcasts one should easily realize they aren't going for journalism there.

Posted: Jan 13th 2011 10:46PM empyreanwolf said

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great article. its this kind of article that make me come back to this site; the uniqueness of this site.

Posted: Jan 14th 2011 5:41AM Dread said

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Umm, Massively in the past have been just as guilty as other lesser sites when it comes to tossing snowballs at Game Developers rather than asking the tough questions. The whole Alganon fiasco springs to mind. The initial 'reviews' and 'interviews' with David Allen where little more than paid for advertorials which many people picked up on and remarked on at the time.

Still a timely and well written article I mostly agree with...but a little less 'holier than thou' would have been better when you've* been just as guilty as well.

*' You've' as in Massively and not directed at you, the author, personally.

Posted: Jan 17th 2011 8:05AM JuliusSeizure said

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I do not want gaming "journalism" as you're describing it at all. I don't think such a thing has any place at all. Games are entertainment and subjective things. Reporting on them needs to carry that same tone.

When there's shady things happening in the business of games, leave that to the business journalists to report on. Sure, inform us about their articles, discuss their potential ramifications on our hobby, keep us informed, but don't try to break these stories yourselves. That's not what you're paid for, not where your skills and resources are and not the point of videogame blogs.

The ethical code is much appreciated, don't get me wrong. I read for opinions, but I like the opinions to be unswayed by greed or fear of those they describe. As uncommonly positive as Eliot's opinions are on FFXIV, for example, they are his own and worth the respect due for that fact. Likewise, Beau loves to talk up F2P, but he's made clear his disappointment in certain titles on Rise And Shiny.

Anyway, keep up the good work. Massively is definitely much better reading than its direct competitors.

Posted: Jan 20th 2011 12:23PM silasthemariner said

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Unfortunately, media bias that contravenes the standards of journalism exists across the board. You're not safe from it, no matter which aspect of journalism you look at (watched FOX News recently?). This is especially the case when you're dealing with an industry where the "reporters" are the intermittent link between products and consumers, which is the case with games journalism.

Fortunately, we as readers are no longer the silent masses we once were. If we see that a site uses writers who can hardly string a sentence together, or that pad review scores, or that lean favourably towards certain undeserving publishers, we can tell our friends and go somewhere else. It's not like we're paying for these services (unless you're dumb enough to have a paid subscription to a games news site).

We just need to be more savvy these days, and stay away from what Roger Ebert calls "junket whores."

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