Jaffe Rips On Opinion In Journalism, We Have A Response
Last year, I wrote an editorial concerning video game journalists, and how they need to earn respect. Although Dave Jaffe's point is a little different in his most recent blog video, it still falls within the same realm: the lax style of reporting amongst industry journalists.
You can view the rant over at Jaffe's CriminalCrackdown blog, and as avid readers, you're likely to have an opinion. For my part, it's something I've been screaming about for several years, but obviously, it took someone of Jaffe's visibility to bring the issue closer to the limelight. First of all, let me get this out of the way right now: I've been guilty of providing opinion in what should be straight-up news posts, but before I address that, let me also say that we will often place opinion pieces under "News" and not "Special Features," which is something we have to change. We just need a category for specific pieces like that - not every Op-Ed article we do can be considered a major feature, which is why we place it in the News column - and we understand this has caused confusion in the past. This here, for example, is listed under "News," even though it deserves a more accurate position on the site. Now, as for the part about putting opinion into news...
I will say that at no point will we bend the truth, issue half the facts, or purposely misquote a source simply for the sake of some hidden agenda. Our only agenda is to provide our readers with PlayStation-related news on a timely basis, and that means you'll see plenty of updates every single day. At the end of the news article, I will occasionally toss in a personal opinion; how I view the news, what impact I think it will have, etc. I am well aware that this is a cardinal sin of news reporting; let's not forget that I worked in newspapers for several years, and I quickly learned that news reporters aren't allowed to have an opinion. They're not even allowed to use descriptive adjectives, unless someone else has used them first. But at the same time, while a newspaper serves a community, it isn't a community in and of itself. PSX Extreme, on the other hand, most certainly is.
Something else I never did with the papers is issue very personal articles to allow the readers access to my life. I took a risk in doing that even here, but in building a community where people interact with each other on a daily basis, I figured it was worth the risk. Jaffe says that simply because the reporting is on the Internet, this shouldn't change how game journalists report the news. We will agree and respectfully disagree with this statement. At its core, news is always news, and I believe we uphold the solid tradition and integrity of reporting. Yes, we will add a little flavor of our own, but it never hampers the facts, and it certainly never replaces the facts. It's as if the reporter in a newspaper wrote his article as he normally would, than simply slipped in a few lines of his own perspective at the end. We find nothing wrong with that, especially when there's a living, breathing community that drives our site. It's not just a readership; it's a social arrangement of sorts.
This being the case, we believe this alters the situation a bit. So while we certainly agree with the foundation of Jaffe's argument, I just wanted to add this as a little addendum. Okay, it's too long to be considered "little," but...well, you get what I mean. ;)
3/5/2009 Ben Dutka