This is the Best Games Media Ever. But the Worst Games Journalism

This is the Best Games Media Ever. But the Worst Games Journalism

I must be doing something right, because I now know two Zens! ZenPundit is a terrific historian and author. ZenOfDesign, a game designer, is also the most polished of the voices defending GawkerMedia and Vox in the gamergate scandal.

ZenOfDesign has a terrific post, This is the worst games media ever (Except for all the ones before) that covers much of the territory I’ve been blogging about, including

    1. The collapse of paperbound games journalism
    2. The rise of social media (with its consumer-side economies of scale)
    3. The financial pressures that the new old media of online games journalism faces

We use different terms for these trends, but I think we see the objective sitaution very similarly.

Where we differ is in understanding the difference between entertainment, commentary, and journalism.

ZenOfDesign’s otherwise terrific post is an anarchy of conceptual confusion.

        1. ZenOfDesign and I agree that sites like Gawker and Vox at least aspire to be journalists.
        2. ZenOfDesign confuses commentary with journalism. For instance he explicitly compares Gawker with Daily Kos, apparently without realizing that Daily Kos is a site dedicated to commentary and political agitation.
        3. ZenOfDesign confuses entertainment with journalism. For instance, he appears to be honestly disturbed that celebrity “streamers” engage in product placement (he’s not alone in this — a famous celebrity streamer well known for his gentle personality was also very worried).

Very few care about celebrity product placement for the same reason very few care about Daily Kos’ liberal bias: neither celebrities nor political agitators are journalists.

Many times I’ve mentioned that the #gamergate scandal was fueled by a naive population that believed game journalists were had the prestige or access of, say, Washington Post reporters. ZenOfDesign is striking for me in that he is a supporter of Vox and Gawker, but equally naive. His passion against celebrity product placement is heartfelt, and his demand to know how product placement is made is earnest.

Look, if I were a #gamergater and cared about actual journalistic integrity in games as much as they purport to, I’d at least demand some answers. I’d be aiming the angry mob at demanding confirmation of these requirements. I’d be trying to find out what OTHER games this particular marketing company shilled for and looking at those. I’d be taking a hard look at early YouTube videos and seeing who made videos that matched these requirements, and try to figure out which YouTube video personalities are basically purely on the take. I’d be pushing personalities to establish disclosure rules for financial rewards and editorial content restrictions such as this.

To anyone who understands that entertainment is not journalism, however, it’s also bizarre