Being an older gamer who picked up his first controller in 1978, I have always used print magazines to get my gaming news, reviews & previews back in the days. I remember running to the local Optimo in Co-op City or the Barnes and Noble on Central Avenue in Yonkers, New York to get my monthly gaming fix. Magazines like Die-Hard Gamer, Gamer’s Republic, Electronic Gaming Monthly & Game Pro still hold a place in my heart today, and it saddens me that the youth of today may never experience those types of feelings that shaped me into the gamer I have become. In the pages of those magazines were articles written with passion, integrity and pure enjoyment for the gaming world. They wrote incredible pieces that would span six or seven pages in length, taking the time to look at every angle of the title being represented. There was also respect to the developers that worked on that said title for years.
Journalism and the core responsibility of a person writing an article that thousands of gamers will possibly read is a heavy burden. A reader will potentially use what is written to determine if they will purchase a game, which is very important and should be treated as such. Being a content creator in the gaming space, I read loads of articles to use in the shows I produce. What concerns me is that the modern day writer is quick to inject their opinion first instead of informing the reader about the game they are interested in. The writer’s opinion should always be secondary and not forced onto the reader, this is something that I believe has been lost in modern day gaming journalism.
In defining journalism:
This was pulled from CareerTrend.com:
- Working as a journalist is not a job to be taken lightly. Journalists have a duty to report the news thoroughly and without bias. If you aspire to be the mouthpiece for your audience, understand your role, your audience and the power of your words. Strive every day to uphold the journalistic integrity that comes with the power of the pen and work to achieve the goal of delivering the most complete and balanced story possible to your audience.
This was pulled from Wikipedia (Journalism Ethics & Standards guidelines):
- Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility. The Radio Television Digital News Association, an organization exclusively centered on electronic journalism, maintains a code of ethics centering on public trust, truthfulness, fairness, integrity, independence, and accountability.
I pride myself in producing the best and most honest content on YouTube possible. I hold myself accountable for what I say with zero excuses and if I get it wrong, I will admit it and if necessary, issue a rebuttal. Even though I am not a journalist, I carry a sense of pride, honor, integrity, and responsibility. Everything I do that will be watched, read or listened to by the public.
A journalist’s responsibility within the gaming media has been an extremely hot topic and I felt it necessary to address it in my first written article. Understand, I’m in no way challenging anyone’s opinion of a game. That is not for me to do, but I have noticed a decline in the quality of the writing. There may be several factors to this noticeable difference, viewership has declined significantly, many of these sites are experiencing fewer readers and there is a good reason for it. In some cases, the writers of the articles did not take the necessary time to learn the controls or even play the title through its completion, allowing for a proper and informative a review for the readers taking to time to visit the website.
The speed in which we devour written content is also changing and, unfortunately, the writers cannot keep up with it, hence the rushed reviews and/or opinions on games. Understand, that is not an excuse for the poor quality that has been on display; we need to demand better. If you are going to use someone’s opinion to help decide if a game is right for you, make sure it’s someone you trust, have watched/listened to before and respect. This is something I highly encourage.
In February of 1994, I was sworn in to serve and protect the great people of New York City and I did that for 21 years before an accident changed my path into the content creator I have become today. In those 21 years, I went out every day with the same excitement and enthusiasm that I had from day one. I was known as “Officer Friendly”; I took my job and the responsibilities that came with it very seriously. I held myself accountable for everything I did. I had a passion for helping others and hold the same level of admiration for the work I do now when reporting and discussing the video game business.
Now, you might be reading this, saying “What does a police officer career have to do with being a YouTube content creator?”. Nothing up front, but there is a level of ethics and accountability that must be adhered to for both positions. I carry the same weight of professional responsibility as a content creator, as I did when I wore a uniform. The level of excitement and wonder I had never changed even though my careers did. It’s these traits that I believe are absent from the media today and change is required.
I want to see the industry become better and I want the writers of today take their job seriously. The modern-day writer has become entitled and unappreciative, I call it the “Participation Trophy” generation. Many of them growing up received an award for just showing up and that could be an issue. This industry is hard work and it takes true dedication to become the best. Another reason could be because today’s modern journalists have instant access to developers, game previews and events (WE) on the outside will never be privy to? Honestly, I’m not sure. All I can say is if you are reading this and aspire to work in the gaming media business, make sure you put the reader’s interests before your own.
Simple things like integrity, honesty, and accountability are the foundation to becoming a great writer. Your opinion is important, just make sure you are giving it for the right reasons and not an agenda that you or your publication is trying to push.
As you may or may not be aware of, I am the creator of the YouTube channel Double Barrel Gaming. I’m known within the gaming community as Mr. BoomStick XL. My real name is Craig R. and I am a die-hard gamer through and through. I believe that I am a fair thinking individual who doesn’t pull the media bias card when a review of my favorite game is low, but I have witnessed a change in the quality of the current media representing the gamer of today. Discussing current trends like media responsibility interests me and will continue to address these important talking points in the future.
I hope you enjoyed this article as it will not be the last, I truly enjoy reading, writing and producing gaming-related content for members of this outstanding community. I would appreciate any feedback good or bad, but if you are going to call me out for my views or opinions, be sure to do it a polite and proper manner. Respect still holds weight in this world and is as important now, as it’s ever been.
[See the other side of The Joust: Is Gaming Media Biased?]
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