Friday, June 19, 2009

Game Journalists: The Ultimate Sellouts

Crispy Gamer did a story about the guys who won a contest to cover E3 for some of the Big Sites (1Up, etc.)

The story can be found here.

But what interests me is the comment made by fellow Crispy writer David Thomas:

This year uncorked the genie--that you could go to E3 as a contest winner. The catch? You have to pretend to be a game journalist.

I think this was an ugly development, and not because I think that journalists should go to E3 and fans should stay home. Rather, this is a part of the rot that has set in with game journalism where the privilege of access given to us to get the job done is being turned into an entitlement, or a goodie, that we get that fans don't.

The reason to go to E3 is because it is an awesome spectacle of delights. The reason for a journalists to go is to get work done.

When journalism outlets give out prizes that confuse the two, they show what's really going on: Game journalism is a goodie grab, the ultimate sell out to the industry. We write about games so we get to be super fans and we get to go to the front of the line and we get to wallow in the excess of schwag and developer's tickling us with pink feathers.

And how does this serve the mission of journalism to report, uncover, analyze and create accountability?

Sorry everyone, I want fans at E3, lots of fans, as many as who want to come. But if you win a contest, go as a fan. Go with a special super fan pass that gets you to the head of the line and all those pink feathers. But don't go as a journalist just to get the goodies.

Or think of it this way: If you win concert tickets to a see a band, you get a backstage pass and front row seats and a t-shirt. But you don't have to file a review by 10pm. That's some poor rock writer's job. Job being the key word.
I think David Thomas is smart.


Brandon said...

When I got back from E3, I mentioned to the GameStop guy that I had been to E3 and he told me how jealous he was, to which I replied, well it's a lot of work. He kind of dismissed it, like we go to just fuck around. I mean sure, there's a lot of fucking around, but seriously, by the last day there, my brain was totally fried and not from all of the fun.

Granted, I don't think I created a lot of accountability there, but it was only my first one.

bill abner said...

Covering E3 is a fuckload of work

Jayhawker said...

Well, truth be told, the A-Z article on E3 at Gameshark was one of the best recaps of a trade show that I have ever read. It was just fantastic. So the hard work really paid off.

Nice job!

bill abner said...

That is very much appreciated.

Brandon said...

Yeah, I know Bill was hating life when had to enter all of the information in, but I think that the worked out well.