November 4, 2003

Don't play games with ethics

Strong separation between reviews and party-fueled, influence-peddled previews is a good way for game journalism to develop meaningful ethical standards. Then we might see more game industry coverage written, as Ebert put it, “without benefit of the insights gained from free buffets.”

While searching for a topic on media ethics, I came across this OJR article on the computer gaming industry.

Though I do not play Internet games (gasp), I am interested in the influence they have upon young people (violence and all that). So I clicked on it.

Wow! The buffet junkets and free releases of computer games really does promote a good review by journalists of the industry. And who said that journalists shouldn't accept gifts from promoters? Oh, yeah, in my POJ class when talking about media ethics throughout this semester.

The practice of accepting free dinners or video games seems a major breach in the accurate representation of the game itself.

Beyond the gaming industry, the same occurs in other forms of media--movies especially. While constructing my website on classic movies, I was amazed by the wide range of reviews. One thing I noticed while searching was that so-called "good" critics gave nasty reviews to to certain movies, mostly from one company. I am not saying that the critics are bought off by the companies, but it may be a contributing factor.

Journalists take part in these junkets, receive good treatment, and then are called to report, but something else happens: the reporters report on their experience at the conference instead.

I am happy that there are people out there in journalism country that cannot, and will not be bought off by a filet mignon.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at November 4, 2003 5:28 PM
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