Robert Florence stepped down from Eurogamer after writing the following on journalists & PR.

Man, I miss Ben Fritz's writing for Variety.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

Not only that, he doesn't even bother to provide his readers with any background about the case that could help them decide how to view the veracity of court documents and why they ended up in his inbox.

I don't quite follow the line of thought that obligates Klepek -- or any other reporter, for that matter -- to dump the complete history of a given story within their copy. Do reporters on the political beat attach an ongoing tab of attacks between Obama and Romney onto every new poll report that they file? If there's a bombing of the Gaza Strip, should the international affairs reporter attach a 20-page summary of the Israel/Palestine conflict? (After all, the Wikipedia article comes out to around 40 pages, but perhaps a Real Journalist could cut that number in half with judicious editing.)

Especially in a world where that information (and even most information that the journalist will write) is readily available. The value in reporting is in collecting information (only some of which is hard to get), and distilling that down to something meaningful and useful to the reader. Nobody's looking to open a paper and stare into the bucket of infinite truth.

Not really sure why you guys are focusing so much on one guy to refute the broader issues raised by Florence. Trying to prove one outlier makes everything go away isn't going to convince anyone, and Giantbomb itself really is an outlier amidst a sea of (tainted) media outlets. I mean, how many authors from ign do we need to post to show how bad of a shape the games enthusiast press is in? When Brett Bayer does one solid journalistic piece, does that exempt Fox News from criticism of being opinion based content and allow us to say the network has the true journalistic integrity of a news network? There are really good articles out there if you diligently search hard enough, but they are few and far between. I still haven't seen much follow up with the bioware doctors and their views on the industry now. No article has been written about the story of development that saw DNF become a financial black hole and how events played out amidst the development team. Stay Awhile and Listen looks to be one of the most interesting reads about the game and events happening withing the dev team, but that's a book being written by David Craddock.

Anyway, Klepek squished this into a batch of information links and youtube videos. Kinda does the whole topic a disservice and the explanation/defense written is a joke itself.

Games journalism is not the only form of journalism with problems. You need only pay attention to the horse race coverage of our election for a glimpse into what plagues other arenas of journalism.

That’s not an excuse for the problems in games journalism, just a reminder to keep the world in perspective. I’m not going to recount the series of events that lead to much of the Internet getting up in arms for the umpteenth time about the supposed widespread impropriety of the profession I dedicate my waking life to. I have, however, linked to a series of articles, essays, and reactionary pieces about what’s happened, and that’ll catch you up to speed.

In brief? The Eurogamer piece was on point--he took the words out of my mouth. I don't have a problem with calling out someone specifically. Unlike the iPhone fiasco with Gizmodo, this is a public figure. She's dug a deeper hole for herself by locking down her Twitter, and altering her resume. She should have just gotten in front of this, and taken her lumps. I believe she made a naive mistake, not one of cynical opportunism.

But I want to talk to you is about what matters: trust.

Do you trust me? I hope so. Because if you don’t, I want you to find someone that you do trust, and listen to them instead. Trust is the most important tool I have.The stories I file come with the built-in trust that I've reported them without compromise, or at least compromises that you, the reader, trust me to have made for the right reasons.

Doing good work in the enthusiast press has enormous challenges. Some of the fault lies with those who control access to games, and just as much has to do with other institutional issues. Some people come into games writing simply to have a way to play a bunch of games and talk about them, and they don’t want to engage in serious issues like the rampant, ingrained misogyny in design and our culture of violence. They may be found saying “game journalism is srs bzns” on Twitter. That's fine! Some people like writing about games, but they’re mostly looking for a way into the industry, and want to move into development. That's cool, too. I’m not either of those people, but I’m okay with both being around, and it’s healthy to have different, sometimes radically different, perspectives. Not every writer has to be all things to all people, and expecting anything more from a single writer makes no sense.

I take games deathly seriously, probably too much! You don’t have to. That’s okay. I don't shy away from the journalism moniker, in the hopes it will inspire me to have higher standards for my own work. I want other people to hold me to that standard, too, even if it means constantly being reminded of my own failures. It gives me something to aspire towards, a marker that I can look back on and say “yes, I’ve made progress” or “no, I’ve been lazy.”

Earning the trust of the audience is--and should be--difficult. It’s what allows me to operate in the unideal environment that is the enthusiast press. Is it a perfect place? Nope, there are problems on all sides, but people have to make it better from within, and I’m happy to be part of that fight. The moment trust is lost, drop me like a rock. That’s at the center of this firestorm that’s wrapped everyone up this weekend: a loss of trust. To say that the actions of one or a few accurately reflects on the whole is a simplistic view of the world, as there’s nothing I can do about the actions of one writer in the UK. I manipulate what’s within my control, and hope that maintains a trust with you.

It’s the beauty of Twitter’s intimate immediacy, and the level of interaction we have on Giant Bomb. You know what we’re thinking. Ask tough questions, and hopefully a bunch of really dumb ones, then make your own judgement.

Debating whether games journalism is broken is a fruitless discussion. It’s been done to death, and I’m tired of it. The best argument I can make is to continue trying to produce interesting work about the games, the culture, the people, and maybe illuminate just a little bit more on what remains a tragically undercovered, misrepresented medium. If I fail, I’ll fail because my work was sh*tty and I stopped putting in the proper effort, not because I threw up my hands about the limitations of my work environment. I knew what I was getting into. I’m not going to accept that it can’t get better, and I’ll try to do that one article at a time. Whether or not all of my colleagues do the same isn’t my problem.

I’m not sure how much of this ramble touches upon what actually happened this past week, but that’s how I feel about it. If you have any other questions about it, you know how to get in touch with me. Now, let's move on.

Not really sure why you guys are focusing so much on one guy to refute the broader issues raised by Florence.

Is that what was happening here?

Coldtouch wrote:

When Brett Bayer does one solid journalistic piece, does that exempt Fox News from criticism of being opinion based content and allow us to say the network has the true journalistic integrity of a news network?

No, but it does disprove the notion that there's no solid journalism at Fox News. And that's the kind of blanket statement that started this particular line of discussion: not that games journalism merely needs to improve (which I strongly agree with), but that it apparently needs to exist because there isn't any out there to begin with. I'm not going to apologize for pushing back on such a needlessly reductive and dismissive assertion that, if anything, lets those that work in the field off the hook.

Coldtouch wrote:

No article has been written about the story of development that saw DNF become a financial black hole and how events played out amidst the development team.

Actually, Clive Thompson wrote a lengthy feature on the tortured development of Duke Nukem Forever at Wired, back in 2009.

Along the same lines, you can look at a similar feature written by Rob Zacny on the development of Homefront, which Polygon published today.

wordsmythe wrote:
Not really sure why you guys are focusing so much on one guy to refute the broader issues raised by Florence.

Is that what was happening here?

Not entirely, no. But I didn't want things to get too side-tracked in divining the integrity of work/effort put forth in articles. I think journalists can only write within a limited scope of information and become burdened with a limited time frame before news becomes too old to get views. We'd all probably love to have really revealing articles written often, but I doubt the editors are willing to let go of deadlines while other outlets scoop their views/ad sales. This makes PR departments have even more powerful influence as media outlets jump at their trickling of PR releases and the viewership's eyes pass over delayed articles that would be more informative material because "I've seen/heard enough of that already so it's not worth reading".

Totilo's fellating of Kotaku grates a bit.

Overall, however, I can't find much fault with the article outside of the fact he came in with his viewpoint and stuck to it, but he did find a lot of good quotes from people I respect, so there's that.

The lengthy article Totilo promised.

Curious what people think of this. To me, it's well written but offers no solutions and just comes off as a bunch of rationalising, obfuscation and basically saying "Maybe there's a problem but I think it's overblown and we certainly don't do it here." This of course being Kotaku which is arguably one of the biggest re-printers of PR I've seen. I don't see the article doing much to dissuade anyone's concerns but judge for yourself.


I think there's a good chance I would have, yes. Buy I can't say for sure because, you know, alternate reality and all that. If in said reality I'm stuck on a desert island with a swimsuit model and a copy of Twister, that's what's getting played.

As for giving stuff out like candy, I've not experienced that. And on that note, I think time frames are important to publishers, PR and most websites. Look at how so many game reviews come out on launch day or just before. They want people who'll review the game when there's a buzz about it. In turn, websites don't want to be left out or to lose an exclusive.

There needs to be more hard-hitting gaming journalism like RPS is doing.

This is an interesting thread.

These days when I browse through game review websites, there are two things which continually come to mind:

1) So another AAA title came out. How low did they feel they could rate this one?

2) Let's check the smaller titles. How high did they feel they could rate this one?

Then I check the user reviews / metacritic to see how real people rated the game (although this can also be misleading - refer Mass Effect 3).

It reminds me of something in recent memory, when some of the writers refused to give a game a particular review or rating and were stood down / resigned because of it, then they whistleblowed the whole thing about financial benefits from the publisher/studio.

OG - I tend to agree with your thoughts, but you will never find a true separation of PR / journalists. It's like how political pundits mourn the lack of division between the executive and judicial arms of government.