He who pays the piper

There’s been a big scandal in the world of videogames writing, and the short version goes something like this: comedian Robert Florence wrote a column about writers and PRs being a wee bit too close together, legal threats were made, the column was edited and Florence quit. Then it all exploded.

Stuart Campbell has a detailed post about the whole sorry saga, which is worth a read if you’re interested in journalistic ethics and that kind of thing. I thought this bit was particularly true:

games journalists are merely serving the people who pay the bills, and that isn’t the readers any more, because they demand all their journalism for free. If you’re not even prepared to pay peanuts, you’re going to get something less than monkeys.

 

4 thoughts on “He who pays the piper”

  1. Oddly he’s citing the monkey/peanut defence yet the written dead tree press (which at last count is still largely sold for a financial consideration) do the same – simply report press releases as if they were news. You can see this every time Apple/Google/MS release a product, you can see it at larger sporting institutions (where puff pieces are the order of the day).

    Actual hard fact-checking journalism seems to be the realm of the internet bampot these days.

  2. I think the same thing is happening in print, though, because headcounts have been decimated – Nick Davies’ Flat Earth News is very good on the subject, but the basic theory is that in many cases, entire sections are being written by one person who never leaves the office. There simply isn’t enough time to fill the space without churnalism.

  3. Thinking about it some more, the other problem with print newspapers is that you can get it all for free online the day before. I’m killing my Guardian subscription as of next week for that very reason: the things I’m interested in, I’ve already read online before my paper is delivered.

    I’ll still get the weekend editions for lazing about on the sofa, but that’s the end of the daily paper – something I’ve been buying since I was a teenager. I realised I was only paying for the paper out of habit.

    1. Twas ever thus – “yesterday’s news tomorrow” with the exception when I was growing up of the Sporting Pink (at least that’s what it was where I used to live) on a Saturday afternoon – they managed to get a match report from pretty much every league match in that and on the streets within an hour… and I lived half-an-hour from the printworks (assuming they came straight to my papershop)

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