If you haven’t been following the news about the news – and let’s face it, why would you? – you’d be forgiven for not knowing that journalists are going through some rough times right now. Local papers are cutting staff, reducing output or closing altogether. Search engines and news aggregators have sucked the revenue from online publications and funneled it into their own pocketbooks. Print is dying, and many media companies are trying to figure out how to survive and prosper on the web.
The game industry may be weathering the recession better than most, but game journalism is struggling with the same problems mainstream journalism is. As the global economy slowed down to a crawl last fall, publishers had to start thinking about trimming their budgets, and when the choice is between paying a hundred employees’ salaries for a year or buying a full-page ad in EGM (may it rest in peace), the outcome is pretty obvious.
Game journalism has other, more local problems to contend with. For instance, how can you remain unbiased when you’re funded largely (if not entirely) by the industry that you’re attempting to cover? For that matter, is objectivity even possible when we’re talking about an entertainment medium? What does the audience really want, and how can the gaming press best serve it?
These are questions that we’ve been thinking about deeply for the last few years, but we thought we’d address them head-on in this week’s issue, “Press-tige.” Robert Zacny discusses the problem of videogame advertising in “An Endemic Problem.” In “The Top Ten Reasons Why Top Ten Lists Reign,” Sam Machkovech analyzes one of the most popular formats for videogame coverage. Justin Leeper talks about the transition from game journalist to developer in “Switching Sides.” In “Yellow Game Journalism,” Richard Aihoshi wonders how Joseph Pulitzer, one of the pioneers of yellow journalism, would respond to today’s videogame coverage. And Chris LaVigne explains why you should probably be a bit more cynical when reading newspaper stories about videogame psychological studies in “But I Read It in the Papers.”
Ready and enjoy,