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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

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Comments (27 posts)

SerendipityDeus
Monday, September 22, 2008 @ 10:47:58 PM
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Definetly, u tell'em Ben lol

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LightShow
Monday, September 22, 2008 @ 10:48:01 PM
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Methinks this might be prompted by a basement dweller who hath gotten on ben's last nerve...

I know I am very frustrated when a rumor becomes highly published and turns out to be a dud, but then again, my job isn't reporting on the gaming world, and I don't get flak when i'm wrong (or at least, not much and not for long ;))

While normally i would say your preaching to the choir on this one, It needs to be said, and i'm glad its out there. Right on!

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fame_in_game
Monday, September 22, 2008 @ 11:03:06 PM
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i would be mad too...stupid kids

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AceTatsujin
Monday, September 22, 2008 @ 11:03:11 PM
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Just for this one, Ben. I'll let it go, because you do have a point. I admit it, I don't like Kotaku at all and I avoid them, always.

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Fabi
Monday, September 22, 2008 @ 11:08:59 PM
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That's why I checked Arnold when he was claiming God of War 3 was coming early 2009.

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MetalHead09
Monday, September 22, 2008 @ 11:45:59 PM
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well said ben.

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infekt
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 12:14:11 AM
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Agreed. I respect the field of journalism. I just don't respect Kotaku.

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Aftab
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 12:51:37 AM

You missed the point, my scary, young friend.

Last edited by Aftab on 9/23/2008 12:52:02 AM

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Aftab
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 12:42:45 AM
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It is rather silly that kids would complain that, God forbid, a rumor, which was reported as rumor, should turn out to be a rumor.

Last edited by Aftab on 9/23/2008 12:49:45 AM

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 1:13:10 AM
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I think that in this case Kotaku was a tad careless. The story was obviously false. But they never claimed it as fact or even reliable information. I love Kotaku and always will.

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Gabriel013
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 1:19:27 AM
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I agree that if it was reported to be a rumour there shouldn't be an issue. These idiots who make rubbish up need to get a life. There may be a future in politics for them..

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LightShow
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 3:23:09 PM

Word ^_^

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McWhoopin
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 1:42:58 AM
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Hey Ben, I have been reading PSXExtreme for years now and I have always enjoyed reading the articles that you guys write, but I do have a problem with this one. You talked about this a few months ago in an editorial about how the gaming industry journalists get no respect and are viewed to have little to no credibility in comparison to the mainstream media. I agree with you completely about this but the biggest question is...whose fault is it? For the most part, it is the game journalists fault for not being respected. Why you may ask? It is because most of your reporting is on rumours and speculation. For the most part, the mainstream media doesn’t report about rumours and speculation (except the 24 hour ones) because it is irresponsible journalism to report on such things (This could take me into a whole other rant on the mainstream media, but that will be for another time). Remember back in 2004 when Dan Rather reported on that rumour about George W Bush which turned out to be false, he got fired for it. If a game journalist reports on a rumour and is wrong....it ends up being called a weekday. If you want credibility, stop reporting rumours and only report facts. Now I know that this is easier said than done as the publishers and console makers love to keep hush about any bit of info that they don’t release themselves and the only way to change this is to force them to be more forthcoming. Band together with all the other major gaming publications and tell the industry that you will stop reporting on their games if they don’t start being more forthcoming with their info. This is very tricky and may backfire but you do have to remind them that the gaming sites are the major reason why the industry is as large as it is right now. Reporting on the games before they are released builds up the hype for a game and will increase sales, but if you don’t report anything...the hype for games would drop down to nothing and the industry would nosedive. There has to be a consensus between the journalists and the industry for credibility to exist. Either that or you severely cut down the amount of news you publish in a day. If I was a music journalist and I heard a rumour that Madonna got a sex-change operation, and I contacted her PR rep and they said “I cannot confirm or deny such rumours at this time” would I be a credible journalist if I reported it without getting the confirmation. No, no I wouldn’t be and this is the same for the gaming industry. If you can’t get confirmation, don’t report the news....simple as that. News is reactionary, not proactive.

P.S. Sorry if it sounded rude, it is just my opinion and I meant no disrespect to you or anyone else at PSXExtreme.
P.P.S. Sorry about jumping around as much as I did, rather sleepy and I wanted to get out as much as I could before I passed out.

Last edited by McWhoopin on 9/23/2008 1:45:08 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 10:21:13 AM

That would all make sense if news operated the same on the Internet as it does in the papers. Sorry, but it doesn't. All gaming sites compete for traffic, and I hate to tell you this, but if we don't report on rumors, that traffic disappears fast...and then you have no site. The fact is, rumors get 10 times as much traffic than official announcements, primarily because there are often rumors ABOUT that announcement before it happens, and everyone starts talking and debating.

The Internet is all about mass communication, and there's much less to talk about when there's no question involved. You just have to accept the fact that we have no choice in the matter...every last site and every gaming publication would receive a fraction of the attention it gets if it stopped reporting on rumors entirely. And when that happens, things start to fail.

Like I said, I've worked in both print and online journalism, in different entertainment industries, and this is the toughest because there never appear to be any boundaries. And if we want to stay alive, we have to understand that.

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eastx
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 2:05:53 AM
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I think everyone's mad at Kotaku because they heavily criticized CheapAssGamer for posting the initial rumor. The problem is that the rumor did not come from CAG officially, just a reader who was participating in a small contest. Nobody suggested to outside sites that this was real news. I think Kotaku should apologize and then we can all move on.

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Zapix
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 3:24:31 AM
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I have a solution for these kids.

The Jay and Silent Bob Solution
(WARNING! - Langauge Content)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH_Sl_gk4ck

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ThePoetRazel
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 4:33:52 AM
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If those sad losers think they have any skill they'll put it to better use. I've been into manipulation as a hobby for years and i can tell you unequivocally that just stating a rumor like that and getting it reported as a rumor only shows a complete lack of skill. It's pathetic that anyone would even consider that a success at all.
Can anyone think of a new term of abuse for these morons (e.g equivalent of noob or scriptkiddie)?

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Fabi
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 10:12:47 AM
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FoShizzle - Well said my friend.

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 10:57:03 AM
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Kotaku's garbage

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Cuetes
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 11:11:04 AM
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Im fairly new to posting on this site, but this site has something alot of sites are missing, "intelligence". I dont comment on other sites because it always leads to some dumb 10 year old and his army of followers talking crap, and spreading lies. I Give you props Ben (if you don't mind me calling you that) I always see you calling out the liars and false gamers.


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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 12:21:12 PM

Thanks, but we won't take all the credit. We've got a lot of great posters here, who are both informed and civil. The reason we ONLY have that is because we work to keep it that way; we don't tolerate fanboy crap or other flaming nonsense of any kind.

Result? A good community. And of course, we try to do our part as journalists as well. :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 2:00:51 PM
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Nice rant Ben, (non sarcastically). I accepted the rumor mill as just that a long time ago, and I also know that (myself included) gamers really like to get news every single day on their favorite upcoming games because this industry is all about the "next big thing." And when the game companies stonewall a journalist then he isn't working and could be let go, so why not report on rumors and speculation? Its all about getting excited and possibly even affecting the industry. Remember "Animalities" for MK2? Never existed, but they put them in the next game (They were kinda gay but that's beside the point.) The fact is, movie and music news get one or two official developments before the product is released (Max Payne's cast and then rating battle) and that is about it. People aren't demanding new stuff every day like they do with games. I think Game journalists are some of the hardest working right up there with crime beat. In short, don't let those rat bastards get to you. Most gamers are mature enough not to fly off the handle if a reported rumor fizzles.

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shaydey77
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 3:38:52 PM
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Rumours must be reported!! If we just wanted hard facts head to an official website. And if its credit you guys want for your journalism here it is...you guys rock!!If you didnt i wouldnt bother reading the articles once a day.This is the only site i come to because well its just plain awesome.Keep up the great work.Speculation and fact mixed together wil always intrique the imagination and thats never a bad thing.

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Alienange
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @ 10:36:45 PM
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@FoShizzle - you said "you do have to remind them that the gaming sites are the major reason why the industry is as large as it is right now."

I tend to disagree. Gaming sites are a result of how big the industry has become. Gaming sites didn't create the industry. Gamers did. We bought games with our hard earner money until gaming was finally taken seriously. It is only natural that journalists would start reporting on this money making industry. Reporting on rumors in the gaming industry is like giving us the weather report. "It may rain it may not. It looks like it will because we've seen this trend before, but there's really only a %50 chance of rain."

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cr67
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 @ 2:24:19 PM
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I like your last comment Ben and this is one of the main reasons PSX is my main source for everything gaming. You don't put of with the flamers and it makes for a great online community. This site has a much younger audience participation than the few other blogs I frequent and I can honestly say this site has the most civil discussions out of all of them. (by far) And the average age on the other blogs are between 30-60 years of age. (give or take a few years) (the blogs I speak of are political and/or general news blogs)

You and all the others that keep this site running so smoothly should be proud of yourselves because you've got a great thing going here. You run a tight ship and it shows. So you run into a rumor or two that isn't true from time to time, big deal! You guys have always updated your stories and given us the straight facts when they've become available and that makes all the difference in the world.
Keep up the good work Ben, you guys are doing a great job!

Last edited by cr67 on 9/24/2008 2:26:01 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 @ 3:10:03 PM

We certainly appreciate it, and we give a lot of credit to our loyal readers. But for the last time, this is NOT a blog! ;)

Everybody must just think everything is a blog now. LOL

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cr67
Thursday, September 25, 2008 @ 2:41:52 PM
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You're right, it's not in the general sense but I was just trying to make a point.

But at the same time, if it walks like a blog and talks like a blog....yeah, it's kinda "blog-ish". It's nothing to be ashamed of Ben. lol You and your crew post topics and reviews and the readers comment on said topics. That's a blog.
But seriously, it really is so much more and I enjoy it all. :)

Last edited by cr67 on 9/25/2008 2:44:26 PM

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