Dtoid Community Discusses pt 3: Gaming Journalism
Another week, another discussion! In case this is the first time you are reading one of these, Dtoid Community Discusses is a weekly c-blog which brings together members of the Destructoid Community to talk about topics that pertain (of course) to gaming and gaming culture. Now on our third iteration, if you want to check out any of the previous installments, please check out the links on the side bar!
Anyway, in light of the fall of EGM (*pause while I pour one out for my homies*), I decided to ask this week’s panel about the state of gaming journalism. The panel this week consists of NihonTiger90, Coonskin05, Blehman and ScottyG! As always here is the question I posed to them:
Gaming Journalism: In light of the recent 1UP ordeal that recently happened, I began to think about the state of 'gaming journalism'. It's really sad that a company that appeared to be doing it right got in such a mess. Which got me to thinking about the state of gaming journalism in general. Back in the day, gaming magazines were how things were done, and Gamepro, EGM, Nintendo Power were all the rage. Now, it’s hard for print magazines to continue strong, I believe due to the strength of the internet and the ability to find out things instantly.
HOWEVER, alot of gaming news sites can hardly be considered "journalism". It seems that most sites out there are basically rehashed PR statements, places to break NDA's or copypasta of other blogs that worked hard for their writing but just can't make it big.
I ask you guys. What exactly is gaming journalism/does it exist? Why did print magazines fail? Will videogames gain that level of professional reporting that other media seem to have? What do you think the future of gaming journalism holds?
The discussion basically covered two topics, so I've given each of them their own section. Read on to find out what they thought!
"Anyone can do it"....Could this Crowhawk douche be the next N'gai Croal? ScottyG
First I want to clarify if we're considering videogame blogging sites like Destructoid, Journalism. We all know they don't consider themselves journalists, but they do report the news and do reviews, interviews, and original articles so at the very least I will be including them. :)
I think moving to the internet has both helped and hurt videogame journalism. On one side. You can get stories out to your readers much more quickly and can build a better community than you really could with a magazine. Destructoid's community for example, is something you could never get in a print magazine.
However, the constant race to be first on a news story or a review forces writers to take shortcuts and rely more on short, straightforward stories that aside from a little personal spin don't really differ from any other site out there. Original interviews and articles just don't happen, and quite often when they do they're just lists. For the most part long, multipart features previewing a game or interviewing a developer just doesn't happen. The only site I can think of that really does that sort of thing is Gametrailers, with excellent pieces like their retrospective series and Bonus Round.
The biggest problem with everyone being able to do gaming journalism is the same problem that plagues the rest of the media: ethics and morals. While trained journalists have a certain code that they work by, not all bloggers do. Some will post whatever they can get as soon as they can get it without bothering to verify their sources, just to get all the traffic and the glory. But if you're wrong, you can screw up a lot of people's lives. I know that sounds silly, but posting a serious story based on rumors can cause any number of negative reactions, especially if that company is traded on the stock market (see: the many Apple and Steve Jobs dying stories that have been posted, even though he's now stepping down for a while). Even Kotaku got bit by this earlier in the year when they posted that Xbox 360 rumor that turned out to be something the Cheap Ass Gamer forums made up. Beating everyone else to the punch doesn't matter if you're dead wrong. It just makes you look like an incredible jackass.
Like Mike said, the constant rehasing of press releases and three paragraph sentences isn't really gaming journalism. That requires a lot more of an investment. It doesn't mean you have to go to journalism school to work in the industry, but honestly, it might not hurt if we got more actual reporting on the games industry. And yes, there's plenty that could be reported on if sites had more resources.
Concerning gaming journalism, I think part of the beauty is that anyone can break into it. An easier point of access means that those who deserve to be at the top will be at the top. And excuse me if I come off as a little brutish here, but I've never understood the whole "Why doesn't anyone take game journalism seriously?" complaint. Why do we care so much about the "rest of the media's" approval. When the traditional media tries to cover videogames (like the New York Times making a "Best Of" list), it's fucking laughable, so I have never really seen why we have always craved that approval. We know who the top videogame journalists are and they get their credit, and we know that the videogame industry makes more than the music and movie industry, so we should be happy with that.
Coon hit the nail on the head. Why do we care what the "mainstream" media cares about game journalism? It's a relatively new field compared to movies and music, so of course everyone who's not in the know is skeptical, and frankly, out of touch with it. Like I said, until the game industry breaks through a few more walls and gains more mainstream acceptance, why not say damn the torpedoes? As far as I can see, it's still full speed ahead. As long as game journalists keep their priorities in mind and keep on doing what they feel is right, we've got things pretty much covered. Though it's sad to see the fall of such longstanding institutions as EGM, it's an unfortunate side effect of people not understanding where the future is heading, and I think in the future it will just band together gamers to keep these things running, whether it's "underground" blogs like dtoid and kotaku, which are, needless to say, not to terribly well known outside of gaming circles, or more mainstream media like newspapers and magazines gaining legitimate gaming writers from the destruction of these sites due to "financial outlooks."
That's all for this week! As always, if interested in being in a panel send me a PM with your email! Tune in next week for a new discussion topic! Same Dtoid Time, Same Dtoid C-blog!