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Are Most Game Journalists Little More Than Entertainers?

What is gaming journalism? As the entertainment venue has emerged into the mainstream limelight, the question has come to the forefront.

Earlier this year, I wrote an editorial addressing this issue, claiming that due to the inherent traits of the Internet, and the inherent differences between online and print publications, video game journalism is indeed different. But of course, that doesn't necessarily change the fact that a journalist must maintain a certain code of ethics and a bit of integrity, which was the point of a great article over at TheMarriedGamers. It refers to those who many don't consider to be "journalists" but rather, entertainers; i.e., Hip Hop Gamer and Olivia Munn. Arguments can certainly be made on both sides, and if we eliminate the traffic requirement for 99% of gaming sites, there isn't much excuse for breaking the rules of journalism. But with the community element, we may be doomed to producing pieces that do include author opinion (which you're never supposed to do).

So what do you think? For our part, we attempt to provide all relevant facts and leave it at that; you might find a sentence or two that conveys a bit of author reaction to the news, but that's where it ends for us.  If that's a problem, though, you just let us know. :)

Tags: video games, games industry, gaming journalism

12/17/2010 12:33:48 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (23 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 12:50:53 PM
Reply

I think PSXE keeps things reigned in pretty well, but where the entertainment aspect really shines is right here in the comments section :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 2:05:32 PM

Truth.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Killa Tequilla
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 2:11:43 PM

Agree :)

Last edited by Killa Tequilla on 12/17/2010 2:12:07 PM

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Underdog15
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:02:40 PM
Reply

I actually feel there is a need to know the author's opinions. It does two things: It allows us to relate to the author better, and it gives us some perspective for the pieces we read.

When you guys at PSXE write, it often includes tidbits of what you think. And that's important to readers who understand your likes and dislikes. Yet, at the same time, I have seen a number of times where you guys have rated things for what they are, whether they are your thing or not. And that's important too.

Additionally, the parts of the news you folks write with bias, are CLEARLY just your opinions. And on subjective issues, you always state phrases like "we feel that etc. etc. etc." clearly indicated that it is how you feel on a topic, and not necessarilly something everyone will agree on.

Perhaps it's because I visit often, but I have no problem differentiating the difference on this site between news and opinion. But Ben, please know that the opinions ARE necessary for your writing to be interested (entertaining) and clear. The way you handle yourselves is really, the best way to maintain both journalistic integrity and an opportunity to express your feelings.

Journalism is boring without adding in at least a little bit of insight. It's especially useful for those who may be familiar with your work, but not familiar with a particular topic. For example, if it has to do with an RPG, I know you and I have similar thoughts on the topic, so if there's news on RPG's that I may not have brushed up on, I know I can trust what you say, both objectively and subjectively.

But yeah, author reaction is important as long as the reaction isn't the news.

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Hezzron
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:06:18 PM
Reply

Olivia Munn isn't a "journalist" any more than her teleprompter is. She's just some fast talking eye candy.

I personally have no problem with some "opinion" in articles. Readers shouldn't be so thinned skinned as to get all upset if it differs from theirs.....as long as there's a comment section to voice your displeasure! ;)

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FatherSun
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 3:36:22 PM

Ms Munn can jingle her keys for me anytime. But that's about it.

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Fane1024
Saturday, December 18, 2010 @ 2:41:09 PM

I don't think there's any doubt on that matter. Olivia is an actress/entertainer. She happens to have gotten gigs which involve "reporting", but she wouldn't claim to be a journalist.

The some holds true for Sessler, Webb, et. al.

Someone like Geoff Keighley, though, MIGHT be considered part-journalist at least.

On the other hand, Greg Miller has a degree in journalism and (like Ben) worked in print journalism, but his function at IGN is primarily as an entertainer (read: goofball).

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maxpontiac
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:11:02 PM
Reply

Isn't it obvious? Most sites are nothing but another attempt publicity.

That's just another case in point on why PSX is the place to be!

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The Doom
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 10:13:58 PM

It's also kinda the reason why it's less known rite? :P

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Highlander
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:12:17 PM
Reply

Ben, as long as the opinion/reaction in an article is clearly sub-headed "Opinion" I can't see how there can be a problem. For my money, the problem occurs when a writer cannot/will not separate their opinion from the facts and posts the two as one.

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Nlayer
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:24:23 PM
Reply

It seems like most online news sites are just Blogs. I do like opinions though. You, Ben, are a gamer too so I like hearing your opinions. =]

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Scarecrow
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:31:29 PM
Reply

It's all about the money and site traffic.

Agendas console bias = exclusive interviews, early copies of those games for reviews, advertising, etc.

The more you support FPSs on a site the more traffic you get. The more traffic you get the more exclusive content you will get from Activision, EA, etc. And the advertising follows. This all influences game review scores, console bias, etc.

And ultimately $$$

There's really no integrity in most gaming sites.

I respect the sites that came or that still publish magazines like Gamepro and Game Informer.

They come from a background where journalism was real. Most gaming mags in the 1990s catered well to all consoles and tried to be as objective and fair as possible.

Game sites couldn't care less if rpg companies don't give them exclusive interviews, premieres, etc. Since they're all just hungry for the traffic the FPS genre will generate for them. Specially the brainless COD/Halo fans.

psxe puts the facts out there. If there's any opinion from the articles it's only personal. Stuff like "can't wait for Wipeout."

Very informative site, the community is just the fruit of that.

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FatherSun
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:49:01 PM
Reply

If the article is clear to point out that it includes the authors opinion then there should new no confusion. But 90% of the time the readers are not given that respect. Which is why I remain a member of this site and actually value the information it provides to me. Its those who are only looking for those hits that play that game.

PSXExtreme is no nonsense that way. I have never felt like any opinions are being forced down my throat in order to convince or even trick me into believing what is being reported. Those are the sites and writers that have an agenda. Whether it is personal or purchased!

Ben, Arnold, you guys have nothing to worry about. The integrity from the site is very much appreciated. And entertaining! Quantity is good but Quality is priceless!

Last edited by FatherSun on 12/17/2010 1:59:59 PM

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Nestore
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:50:15 PM
Reply

Journalism is a form of entertainment by definition. Standard news journalism's primary purpose is to entertain. They tell you that in any intro class on government or media.

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Scarecrow
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 4:57:46 PM

TV shows =/ journalism

Journalism is supposed to inform and educate.

There's room for some editorials/specials but when you're actually informing and educating bias and personal opinion should be minimal.

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Fabi
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 1:53:08 PM
Reply

Olivia sneaked her way into the hearts of geeks everywhere by lying to them that she was into their games and movies.

I've always found her to be so fake and annoying. Every time she had to give her actual opinion on a game, or like about her favorite part of E3. It would always be some generic comment or she would mention some game that was just such an obvious pick.

Something like this...

So Olivia, what was YOUR favorite part of E3?

....Well...I really liked the Star Wars game because it showed a lot of fighting...

I do hafta say she was real smart in taking the route she did. She kinda took the backdoor into showbiz and sneaked her way into Hollywood.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 2:02:19 PM
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I reckon you should post the information about the topic in hand and then keep your opinion to yourself.

Just kidding :D I usually agree with your insights, and can relate to your editorials and review of the week etc...unless it includes anything to do with RPGS.

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FM23
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 3:50:50 PM
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Well added personal opinion adds flavor to news, but doing something like saying "Mass Effect 2 is coming out, but I'm not into it, I want Dragon Age 2 instead" is pretty unnecassary. I have read this multiple times and I'm just like this again, but at the end of the day it adds character to your reads so keep doing you because I honestly only trust this site..you guys are the reason I ended up buying GT5...great game.

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Pandacastro
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 5:36:53 PM
Reply

Theres a video of Olivia during the vga but it was taken down. The video was about her saying mgs4 was on 360. Heres the link
http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2010/12/15/and-here-s-why-olivia-munn-isn-t-a-gaming-journalist-anymore.aspx

Last edited by Pandacastro on 12/17/2010 5:38:48 PM

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telly
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 6:34:16 PM
Reply

There are a handful of great ones out there, but by and large the whole field is just a joke. They're little more than cheerleaders bereft of any sense of impartiality. Rather than put the pressure on game companies with tough questions -- y'know, being actual REPORTERS -- they toss up softball bullshit that the skilled PR reps whack out of the park with ease. More to the point, their is a shocking lack of writing in the mainstream gaming press outlets that could even remotely be considered deconstruction of the medium. How can the vast majority of game writers never care to write about what games MEAN? Not just their plots -- what it means that SO MANY of us are feeling strange, wonderful and unique things with video games that other mediums don't provide? It just baffles me.

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CHAOS THEORY X
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 8:01:54 PM
Reply

Olivia Munn :) melts my heart....er I mean uh *cough*
haha, but when I saw her on Iron Man 2, I semi-shouted her name in surprise(i was in the theatre), none of my friends knew who she was...

Last edited by CHAOS THEORY X on 12/17/2010 8:02:27 PM

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JustinDaRuler
Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 8:05:57 PM
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agree with underdog

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hadouken
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 12:41:03 PM
Reply

No doubt Olivia is hot but does she actually play video games?

Last edited by hadouken on 12/21/2010 12:41:29 PM

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