TotalBiscuit Discusses the Evolving Role of Games Journalism in Light of Recent Events

The Cynical Brit tickles the iceberg discussion of the role of games journalism and punditry.
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“Attempting to silence critique is not pro-consumer.” – TB 2014

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This is a notion that I personally believe in – and there is a lot else about TotalBiscuit’s above video that I agree with. That in mind, however, I would like to make it clear that TB’s video is not representative of GameSkinny’s official policies.

Before considering this post, I strongly encourage you to take a bit of time to watch the video above. This video is commentary that is important to the current wide-spread discussion of the role of games journalism and the general relevance of news media in a world of publicly available press releases and allegations of corruption. Agree or disagree with whatever sides happen to be presenting themselves, the notion of industry criticism and self-evaluation is one that should be taken seriously.

“Why is this relevant? I’m sick of this discussion! Play games!”

Games culture is directly influenced by games media and the discussion has become a bit unavoidable. The conversation has become a bit meta, and is thus often difficult to consider in its entirety – even TotalBiscuit’s video does not entirely encapsulate every issue or concern that may be raised. I encourage readers and viewers to question even TB’s views here. Be skeptical, learn, develop informed opinions.

TotalBiscuit brings up a few specific talking points which I will paraphrase and slightly extrapolate:

  • What is the role of news media when there are press releases often publicly available?
  • If news for some reason is obsolete, then what do consumers desire from games journalism?
  • If journalists shift to more editorial and opinion-based coverage, is that ok? Is a focus on op-eds a desirable form investigative reporting?
  • The goal of journalism is to serve the interest of informing the reader, how will the industry need to evolve?
  • With publishers and PR firms often holding enormous amounts of power over access, how can small outlets survive without kowtowing to the potential shadowy threat of being blacklisted?

These are all excellent questions with no easy answers. No hashtaging or clicktavism can remedy the massively complex states of current mass media journalism. Outlets can try to do their best, learn as they go, and become active listeners with ears to the ground.

Discuss. Discuss and make informed actions. That’s what we do.

We don’t have all the answers, but at GameSkinny we typically encourage our news writers to dig a little deeper to provide something new and fresh, be it a quote, images, accounts of consumer reactions, or additional research and insight. Many of our writers are enthusiast community members getting their news second hand, eager to write about their hobby – to stay relevant, the question that I typically ask community writers at GameSkinny is this: What is your article offering that another outlet’s article isn’t?

I think asking this question is a good step in right direction and a positive start to fortifying the quality and diversity of coverage that this outlet represents. The question encourages writers to dig and find the gooey good stuff that other outlets might have left by the way side in attempts to get their news out first.

This approach only tickles the top of the iceberg, however, and there are still other questions – far more than TotalBiscuit brings up in his video – that need to be discussed in thoughtful and informed ways throughout the industry. Hashtags and the idea of a specifc ‘movement’ may fade into obscurity, but discussion of the role of journalism in new media and games will not soon fade. 

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