The Changing Face of Journalism: How We Will Meet the Challenge

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The Changing Face of Journalism: How We Will Meet the Challenge

The video game press faces different battles than journalists of years ago. But trying to do things properly should never be an issue, even without GamerGate. Here's what The Escapist will do.

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John Keefer:
The Changing Face of Journalism: How We Will Meet the Challenge

The video game press faces different battles than journalists of years ago. But trying to do things properly should never be an issue, even without GamerGate. Here's what The Escapist will do.

Read Full Article

Nicely said, and a quite well put-together piece. Thank you for putting this together.

It's good to see continued evidence of the Escapist's commitment to honesty and integrity.

In all honesty, a lot of what you're saying in this piece is more applicable to journalism on a whole than just gaming journalism. John Oliver said it best when asked about the Correspondents dinner; "a room full of politicians and journalists laughing and paling around terrifies me"

If you would expand this piece out side of gaming journalism even more so, i would be very interested in what you have to say.

It is very easy to agree with with most opinions in this article.
Thank you about your experiences in print and video game journalism, to be honest I have learned so much about why journalism is the way it is in the last month, I wonder why there haven't been articles about that industry.

Whilst it's an admirable article, to be sure, I am still left with a question. If The Escapist has run articles on questionable harassment, then why aren't we seeing articles about all of the harassment that's happening right now? Actually proven harassment, I mean, and not one anonymous donkey on Twitter.

i generally agree with Agayek, it was a nicely put together piece :)

i very much enjoy the fact The Escapist can rise to meet the challenge of publishing such articles.

there are those who perhaps would suggest the likes of 3 pages of text, and little else, can't find an audience in todays market but i think recent and historical articles here somewhat possibly disproved that notion.

with respect to the subject matter of the piece i would also kinda like to hear any thoughts Mr Keefer might have on political and crime reporting if he felt so inclined as personally i feel these are the areas that hold the most dangerous gear change with respect to tone and responsibility.

Whoa, great article. This came out of nowhere for me and I was very pleased to see it indeed.

I'm glad you're in the mix at the Escapist.

FYI, I read the entire article with the mental voice of an old gumshoe movie narrator.

Sleekit:
with respect to the subject matter of the piece i would also kinda like to hear any thoughts Mr Keefer might have on political and crime reporting if he felt so inclined as personally i feel these are the areas that hold the most dangerous gear change with respect to tone and responsibility.

I think I covered that in the paragraph on Fox, CNN, MSNBC and the like. It is incredibly hard to watch ANY news these days as you do not know what to believe. Local news tends to be better than network news, but having been raised on old school reporting and watching investigative pieces on TV, it is hard to stomach the stuff that passes for "journalism" today. I still trust newspapers, what little of them still exist, because the reporter still must get out into the community and do his legwork for a story, talk to sources and follow paper trails. Being an old fart makes me old school ;)

Wow!
Thank you for this article! I really like the idea of leading by example and i hope a lot of people will take inspiration from the way you approach and view journalism.

I feel like there are a lot of people who agree with you, but are either afraid to say so, or are sensitive because friends are being negatively effected by this focus on bias and ethics. I think some people are being harassed for fence-sitting, when they really don't want to trash talk their friends and judge them for their actions.

I would REALLY like to see more reactions and criticism to other journalists within the media, this might create a self improving atmosphere, rather then focus on sides. Criticism and competition would only improve the quality of writing, and allow for a broader spectrum of opinions other then agree/disagree.

One thing I would like to see addressed as it is something that The Escapist struggles at from time to time is headline selection. While it is stated in this article that personal opinion within the actual news posting is left to the final paragraph, I have often found that the chosen headlines are sometimes lacking in that measure of objectivity. I understand that the goal of a headline is to get a reader to read (or click, I suppose) the article in question but rather often I've found the headlines here to waver between misleading and outright "clickbait." An upstanding sense of ethics is something that should not be restricted to the content of the story itself.

Very much enjoyed reading this. I admire your principles, Mr. Keefer, and wish more gaming journalists (or just journalists in general) more clearly shared them.

Thank you for giving us so many years of your life. As important as I feel this issue is, I still hope that knot in your stomach can unclench soon and we can all get back to doing what we love; be that gaming or journalism or both.

Glen Compton:
Criticism and competition would only improve the quality of writing, and allow for a broader spectrum of opinions other then agree/disagree.

I have some great friends ... yes, friends ... who I can REALLY disagree with, but still respect their opinion and where they are coming from. Again, it is a matter of rapport and knowing someone. Anonymity is killing civility, and a quest for truth.

StriderShinryu:
One thing I would like to see addressed as it is something that The Escapist struggles at from time to time is headline selection. While it is stated in this article that personal opinion within the actual news posting is left to the final paragraph, I have often found that the chosen headlines are sometimes lacking in that measure of objectivity. I understand that the goal of a headline is to get a reader to read (or click, I suppose) the article in question but rather often I've found the headlines here to waver between misleading and outright "clickbait." An upstanding sense of ethics is something that should not be restricted to the content of the story itself.

The last headline I wrote was guilty of that (mea culpa). When I was in newspapers, the idea for headlines was to be clever, to draw the reader in. It wasn't meant to be clickbait, but a challenge to the copy editor to MAKE the reader want to read the work of the reporter, who did the legwork and made it worthwhile. I love being clever, and I love puns, and occasionally I get overzealous. We ARE working on that part of it too.

I just said in a different thread that the Escapist has been a beacon of common decency in this mess, and here you go and prove my point, mister Keefer. Thank you!

This was a wonderful read, and your perspective was very interesting. I am definitely on board with seeing where this particular direction will take the Escapist and gaming journalism as a whole.

Ronack:
Whilst it's an admirable article, to be sure, I am still left with a question. If The Escapist has run articles on questionable harassment, then why aren't we seeing articles about all of the harassment that's happening right now? Actually proven harassment, I mean, and not one anonymous donkey on Twitter.

At this point, I'd put money on both a) not wanting to add fuel to the fire, for either side, and b) not wanting to catch themselves on fire. The whole thing is incredibly volatile right now, and as such, I don't particularly blame anyone for trying to stay out of it.

It'd be nice if somebody did cover the abuse that's being thrown around in an even-handed and objective manner, but I can think of several reasons why people would want to avoid doing so, so I can't be upset about it.

John Keefer:

StriderShinryu:
One thing I would like to see addressed as it is something that The Escapist struggles at from time to time is headline selection. While it is stated in this article that personal opinion within the actual news posting is left to the final paragraph, I have often found that the chosen headlines are sometimes lacking in that measure of objectivity. I understand that the goal of a headline is to get a reader to read (or click, I suppose) the article in question but rather often I've found the headlines here to waver between misleading and outright "clickbait." An upstanding sense of ethics is something that should not be restricted to the content of the story itself.

The last headline I wrote was guilty of that (mea culpa). When I was in newspapers, the idea for headlines was to be clever, to draw the reader in. It wasn't meant to be clickbait, but a challenge to the copy editor to MAKE the reader want to read the work of the reporter, who did the legwork and made it worthwhile. I love being clever, and I love puns, and occasionally I get overzealous. We ARE working on that part of it too.

Oh, absolutely. Given some of the more notable contributors to the site, I think it's pretty fair to say that we, as readers, also enjoy clever humour, puns, etc. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying "more of that please!" My issue is more in cases where there doesn't seem to be any actual humour at all, be it attempted, implied or otherwise. I'm thinking about something like a headline stating "Game company X hates it's player base" and then within the article itself there's a direct quote from the company in question saying "Our players are our lifeblood but we don't agree with this one criticism they have." In any case, it's good to hear that headlines aren't going to be missing out on the news once-over.

John Keefer:
The Changing Face of Journalism: How We Will Meet the Challenge

The video game press faces different battles than journalists of years ago. But trying to do things properly should never be an issue, even without GamerGate. Here's what The Escapist will do.

Read Full Article

Very good read.

The message and declaration of intent are impressive, appreciated and hopefully inspirational to other outlets.
It was also nice to learn a little about you and your background.

Thank you.

@John Keefer

I admire your stance. Though I'd prefer a condemnation of their actions (Sex is worth a lot more than a T-shirt I bet), I can't gripe at you not wanting to talk bad about your colleagues. However, if we do not hold the writers to an ethical standard -- we will see the Fifth Estate die a death just like Telecast News and the Paper Medium (which is surprisingly coming back where I live). I respect you sir, but I can not agree with you. Though I do pray that future journalists in this industry will have you and this declaration, as their Walter Cronkite.

Agayek:

Ronack:
Whilst it's an admirable article, to be sure, I am still left with a question. If The Escapist has run articles on questionable harassment, then why aren't we seeing articles about all of the harassment that's happening right now? Actually proven harassment, I mean, and not one anonymous donkey on Twitter.

At this point, I'd put money on both a) not wanting to add fuel to the fire, for either side, and b) not wanting to catch themselves on fire. The whole thing is incredibly volatile right now, and as such, I don't particularly blame anyone for trying to stay out of it.

It'd be nice if somebody did cover the abuse that's being thrown around in an even-handed and objective manner, but I can think of several reasons why people would want to avoid doing so, so I can't be upset about it.

Ronack mirrors my thoughts on the matter.

I wouldn't say I'm upset. It's more like slight disappointment. But at this point, I'm happy for what I get in this whole fiasco.

John Keefer:

Sleekit:
with respect to the subject matter of the piece i would also kinda like to hear any thoughts Mr Keefer might have on political and crime reporting if he felt so inclined as personally i feel these are the areas that hold the most dangerous gear change with respect to tone and responsibility.

I think I covered that in the paragraph on Fox, CNN, MSNBC and the like. It is incredibly hard to watch ANY news these days as you do not know what to believe. Local news tends to be better than network news, but having been raised on old school reporting and watching investigative pieces on TV, it is hard to stomach the stuff that passes for "journalism" today. I still trust newspapers, what little of them still exist, because the reporter still must get out into the community and do his legwork for a story, talk to sources and follow paper trails. Being an old fart makes me old school ;)

The only thing I know to believe with televised news in the US is that I'd be better off watching anything else. As you said yourself, The Daily Show and Colbert Report have supplanted the news, and that's just 1 hour 4 days a week. I don't know if you've seen it, but Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has been similar in style, but of a much more investigative nature.

OT: Keefer sounds like my father reminiscing on his days in business school where they taught the concept of "good corporate citizenship". It's almost funny that with all the new ways to communicate and find information, discovering the truth seems harder than ever. Thanks for the article good sir, and the hard work generally. Here's hoping we can all figure out how to get back on track sooner rather than later.

Thanks a lot for the article, it was a pleasure to read :)

My philosophy has always been that there are two sides to every story, and the truth is somewhere in the middle, once all personal biases are removed.

I mostly agree with this, a good reporter takes into account all the valid arguments and presents a synthesis of thesis and antithesis. They present the facts and let people make up their own minds, something that I've dearly missed during the #gamergate controversy. That doesn't mean that a journalist cannot present his own view but he should do so after the facts have been duly presented.

I am a lurker more than anything, but when I do participate, I believe in the golden rule. You treat people the way you want to be treated and be respectful.

This, so much this!

Davroth:
Ronack mirrors my thoughts on the matter.

I wouldn't say I'm upset. It's more like slight disappointment. But at this point, I'm happy for what I get in this whole fiasco.

I mirror the sentiment, don't get me wrong. I am disappointed that there's no coverage of it all.

I just think I understand where it's coming from, so I can accept it.

Huh, good read. Telling it like it is as far as how Journalism works. Thanks.

Myxam:
@John Keefer

I admire your stance. Though I'd prefer a condemnation of their actions (Sex is worth a lot more than a T-shirt I bet), I can't gripe at you not wanting to talk bad about your colleagues. However, if we do not hold the writers to an ethical standard -- we will see the Fifth Estate die a death just like Telecast News and the Paper Medium (which is surprisingly coming back where I live). I respect you sir, but I can not agree with you. Though I do pray that future journalists in this industry will have you and this declaration, as their Walter Cronkite.

Success is the best revenge. If The Escapist would prefer to focus on quality journalism while ignoring the fires burning around them, that sounds pretty good to me.

I do think that certain game news sites has largely stopped caring too much about reporting integrity, you can even see it in the GamerGate debacle- them not really understanding why everyone is so upset simply because they are all friends with one another and certain devs and publishers. This is partially because few of them are actually educated in journalism ethics. They don't mind being a group of friends and personalities in the industry who share ideas and in some cases blatantly advertise for each other, because that's to be expected of people who are friends.

It's important for media personalities and reporters particularly to maintain perspective, to understand why someone might have an issue with indie devs being too chummy with reporters, because we rely on them for news and reporting, not stories or videos or editorials that amount to "look at this cool game my friend made" or "my friend made a video on a subjective, controversial topic, you should check it out." Such things are fine if they are disclosed, but they rarely are.

shirkbot:
OT: Keefer sounds like my father reminiscing on his days in business school where they taught the concept of "good corporate citizenship". It's almost funny that with all the new ways to communicate and find information, discovering the truth seems harder than ever. Thanks for the article good sir, and the hard work generally. Here's hoping we can all figure out how to get back on track sooner rather than later.

Holy cow it's been so long since I even heard someone reference good corporate citizenship that I forgot that was a thing. I do miss that mindset. I think it's rather telling when you hear people talking about corporations having the same rights as people but then they neglect the part about some of the social responsibilities that should go with it.

Agayek:

Davroth:
Ronack mirrors my thoughts on the matter.

I wouldn't say I'm upset. It's more like slight disappointment. But at this point, I'm happy for what I get in this whole fiasco.

I mirror the sentiment, don't get me wrong. I am disappointed that there's no coverage of it all.

I just think I understand where it's coming from, so I can accept it.

I can totally understand that response from both people, but again it gets into an area where things are hard to prove and even a single misplaced word can ignite the mob.

I'm glad he kept this piece separate from anything else that he may have said: what's been said here is quite hard to refute or take out of context. Adding anything else in the editorial (a condemnation of peers, anything like that), would potentially taint the article.

OT: Yay, I'm glad to hear from an industry pro that has real experience in journalism. That's the sort of voice that's been far too rare in what's going on.

Also, I'm finally starting to understand why gaming advertising budgets are so high: those swanky gifts and stuff don't buy themselves. :P

flying_whimsy:
I can totally understand that response from both people, but again it gets into an area where things are hard to prove and even a single misplaced word can ignite the mob.

I'm glad he kept this piece separate from anything else that he may have said: what's been said here is quite hard to refute or take out of context. Adding anything else in the editorial (a condemnation of peers, anything like that), would potentially taint the article.

The article itself shouldn't be touched. This article is a fantastic piece of work and there's no room or need for other subjects or digressions to be made within it.

My point was that I'd like it if there were separate news articles covering the abuse being hurled by the extremists, both for and against GamerGate, and some open coverage on the controversy/debate in general. I totally get why there isn't any of that though, and so I'm content with what we're seeing.

It is incredibly hard to watch ANY news these days as you do not know what to believe.[/quote]
I used to watch Euronews a lot, they always seemed unbiased on most parts and even tried it when it was hard (a city that previously was secular was captured by a strongly muslim faction and they went the extra mile to also report a woman who was glad about it because the crime rates were lower, stuff like that).

Agayek:

flying_whimsy:
I can totally understand that response from both people, but again it gets into an area where things are hard to prove and even a single misplaced word can ignite the mob.

I'm glad he kept this piece separate from anything else that he may have said: what's been said here is quite hard to refute or take out of context. Adding anything else in the editorial (a condemnation of peers, anything like that), would potentially taint the article.

The article itself shouldn't be touched. This article is a fantastic piece of work and there's no room or need for other subjects or digressions to be made within it.

My point was that I'd like it if there were separate news articles covering the abuse being hurled by the extremists, both for and against GamerGate, and some open coverage on the controversy/debate in general. I totally get why there isn't any of that though, and so I'm content with what we're seeing.

I totally agree, actually. I was more responding to some other sentiments I saw elsewhere in the thread and just stating that I thought it worked amazingly well as a standalone piece. I would also like to see more coverage of what's actually happening, but seeing where the news editor is coming from I can understand why there hasn't been much mention of it (which is ironic that I remember journalistic ethics being one of the excuses given for the silence and censorship at the start).

It doesn't help that the impression I've been getting is that it's mostly only people in charge of the escapist that are interested in putting forward open coverage of gamergate rather than anyone that actually writes articles (moviebob is the easy example, but I'm sure there's plenty of other writers on staff who simply aren't as vocal or extreme in their opposition).

Thank you Mr. Keefer for this article. It was truly a pleasure to read and it was interesting to hear some opinions on the state of journalism from someone within the field. I cannot comment on the state of US media as I live in Europe but seems that there are similar problems in here as in US, especially in UK where I live now, but also in other countries which is a shame. I really like to read about things like these. It seems that a large portion of the interesting news and articles I read nowadays comes from the Escapist and I appreciate you making this kind of content.

Thanks for writing this. The Escapist is rising up to the challenge and setting the clear example for quality and ethical journalism.

This is my first comment on this site, so... I've been kept in the dark about GamerGate by my social circle. They'd just parrot whatever kotaku, gamasutra, RPS, etc, has been pumping out. Not exactly fond of their "opinions" so much anymore. I never expected The Escapist of all places to come out with their head held high touting journalistic ethics. I'm gobsmacked. Proud of you guys.

Untiiiil they published the article Anonymous Female Game Devs on #Gamergate and didn't represent any of those for the movement.

hentropy:
I do think that certain game news sites has largely stopped caring too much about reporting integrity, you can even see it in the GamerGate debacle- them not really understanding why everyone is so upset simply because they are all friends with one another and certain devs and publishers. This is partially because few of them are actually educated in journalism ethics.

Eh. Beltway journalists take this to an even greater extreme and they actually are educated in journalistic ethics. I think the tendency toward this exists any time there's a niche or a bubble covering itself-- the smaller the pond that everyone swims in, sources and reporters, the harder it is to strive toward objectivity. You spend 24/7 up each other's bums and you can't help but get chummy or fail to see what that looks like from without. If you think this is bad in gaming journalism, read any political reporter's take on covering a major national campaign. They're on the same plane with these people, at the same events, at the same hotels, month in and month out in a slog that drags on for ages. Ethics statements are wonderful but a lot of this is subconscious. If you want experts in a field covering the field and the field itself is narrow, this is awfully hard to avoid.

I think if anything has bugged me about the "journalistic integrity" part of gamergate, it's the refusal to see how utterly common this is. Yes, it's upsetting. But it's not unique to gaming, nor is it unique to more amateur journalists.

/Writes article about journalism and ethics.
/Gets next to no traffic
/Writes article about women developers and their responses to behavior they've witnessed.
/SERVER EXPLOSIONNNNNNNNN!!!!!

But don't worry, this is totally about journalism ethics.

captcha: trolololol
how fitting...

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