Gaming Journalism Forced To Deal With False Rumor Starters
Here's the thing: gaming journalism is unique in many aspects, but should be treated with the same degree of skill and professionalism as any other journalistic discipline. However, those unique aspects can sometimes get in the way, and believe it or not, it's often much more difficult to handle news in this industry than any other industry out there.
Everyone is talking about how somebody tricked Kotaku into reporting on a rumor, then laughed about it and the response is that the site's credibility is now shot. Basically, people are accusing Kotaku - and other game sites - of being "lazy" and "not checking facts." Now, Kotaku did say it was a rumor, but that's not even the point; the point is this- gaming journalists have to deal with no-life adolescents with massive superiority complexes who believe they always know more than any journalist or critic. No other industry has to deal with this. As gaming publications are mostly online, and gamers tend to be online quite often, journalists have to contend with a constant barrage of criss-crossing rumors. Of course, if all of them were always false, this wouldn't be a problem. But that's not the case, is it? Those "superior" beings who still live in their parent's basement avidly attempt to trick us - who the hell does that in the movie or music industries? - and then blame us for reporting on something that gets a lot of attention from readers.
Newsflash, kiddies. It's not always easy to secure an official response on any given subject, especially when most official replies (especially from Sony) are always the same in regards to Internet gossip. It basically just says, "we don't comment on rumor and speculation." Furthermore, with both tricksters and real informants on the Internet, there are both true and false rumors, and it's an impossible task for the journalist to discern which is which. The best he or she can do is post it, make it clear it's little more than a rumor, and try to get an official response. I can assure you that we at PSXE do this, as does Kotaku, and any other serious gaming publication site on the 'Net. We're not huge supporters of Kotaku, but we're all gaming journalists, and we're pretty sick and tired of the snickering pranksters accusing us of not doing our jobs.
I've worked for the newspapers, too. I worked in music, comedy and television journalism, and all of that was 100% straightforward compared to gaming journalism. Trust me on this. The Internet mangles what was once a relatively cut-and-dry profession, and we have to work within that realm every day. So to all those who make something up, only to have a site report on it as a rumor, you haven't proven anything. All you've really proven is that you know nothing of gaming journalism, and that you desperately, desperately need a life. Get over yourselves.
9/22/2008 Ben Dutka