Things have finally come to a head with the Game Journo Pros. The realization of what the gaming community is actually about and the self-awareness required to understand that, has hit home for one of the former members of the once prestigious group that consisted of some of the top managers, editors and writers working within the games and media entertainment industry. Well, one of them has finally acknowledged that they understand what #GamerGate is all about and that they get it.
E-mails from back in 2013 revealed that Michael Rougeau, the current games editor for Playboy – and former writer for Kotaku up until April of this year – had posted a topic in the group titled “If we’re all going to be unemployed in five years and you know it, clap your hands.”
The topic matter was about the shrinking role of games press in the ever-changing landscape of media entertainment and the people who have been “affected by it”.
There were some interesting reactions, including one from Destructoid owner and Modern Method co-founder Yanier “Niero” Gonzalez. You can see what he posted in the image below.
Kyle Orland, the senior gaming editor at Ars Technica and the creator of the Game Journo Pros group, responded to “Niero” and others who suggested that everyone registered in the group partake in mandatory promotion of the sites involved with the Game Journo Pros. Essentially, it would reinforce whatever a current site is publishing or topical matters that might be of interest to the community.
I reached out to some of the members of the Game Journo Pros regarding the content in that discussion, especially regarding mandatory promotion and behind-the-scenes “unionization” of competing websites. As of July 20th, 2015 Orland offered a full statement on the matter, clarifying the intent of the group and how he felt about it being used for “mandatory” promotion, stating…
“I think journalists should feel free to promote the quality work of colleagues, competitors, or whoever they want through their social media channels however they wish. As I said in the thread you’re referencing, though, I didn’t think use of such a backslapping, intra-promotional hashtag should be a requirement or central part of a group like GJP. That’s not and never has been what the group is about.
“As I wrote on Ars Technica nearly a year ago: ‘Members often make suggestions of what they think “should” be done regarding some issue or another, but these are rightly taken as off-the-cuff opinions to be considered or ignored, not marching orders from some grand cabal. The group is made up of opinionated people in competition for the same scoops and the same reader eyeballs—not people usually inclined to share secret information or undercut their own independence.’ (Ars Technica link)
“I’ll also point out that Yanier’s suggestion seems to have quickly died within GJP, even as a totally optional idea. The suggested “#GameJournosUnite” hashtag seems to have been used a total of twice in history up until now, by a single person: https://twitter.com/search?q=GameJournosUnite&src=typd&vertical=default”
It is true that only Eric Eckstein from Esquire appears to have used the hashtag, as indicated in the link above and this backup archive. The two times it was used was to promote Kotaku and Rock, Paper, Shotgun content.
Some gamers worried that having major competing websites together in a single list made them fallible for groupthink. This was reiterated by former GJP member Ryan Smith from the A/V Club, who wrote in a Medium piece detailing the effects and influence of groupthink.
I reached out to Yanier “Niero” Gonzalez who originally pined for the “unionization” of gaming journalists within the Game Journo Pros. After no longer being in the Game Journo Pros group, “Niero” offered the following statement on the matter, saying…
“Haha, wow. If someone asked me to be in a gaming union today I’d probably laugh in their face and sprint in the opposite direction as fast as possible. It’s no wonder I got kicked out of that group. what an idiot.
“For one, I’m from a different time. in my mind bloggers need to stick with bloggers because it was us versus old media. Gaming fans used to look to blogs with respect that they’d tell it like it is. Kids who grew up with blogs always existing want something else to replace the blogger, and that bloggers that talk to each other can’t be trusted. We gave the old magazines guy shit and questioned every word they wrote ten years ago. It’s the same thing and I’m not going to fight our new readers. They should be suspicious, why the hell not? We were. So I got with the times. I get the gamergate thing.”
That last segment is like ringing the gong that cracks the narrative wall; the lies are crumbling.
Back during the initial beginnings of the hashtag there was a lot of misdirection and anger from the media poured against consumers – consumers, I might add, who felt left out of an industry that they support with their heart, soul, dedication and dollars.
Nevertheless, for the past 11 months up until this point the games media and the mainstream media have waged a war against the consumers of the gaming industry. It even got so bad that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation provided false information to an investigation commission, and the CBC’s program director stood by libelous comments about the origins of the hashtag being about sending rape and death threats to women.
However, “Niero” sees the changing times and how gamers just want to know what’s going on behind the scenes, stating…
“So yeah, unions would be a really stupid idea and a quick way to make yourself look like a dinosaur ripe for extinction.
“What I see [is] that the new gaming media consumer really wants is openness and a flat organization where they can pull up a chair and be just as loud as you are. Any unionized gaming group that isn’t super open is just asking for trouble. That’s how we got into trouble in the first place. We didn’t get it and it surprised the hell out of us that we were the new old and distrustful media. But I’ve been doing this for ten years, so sure we are. How time flies.
“You can’t have a gaming union of writers in the new social reality. That’s a quick way of having readers distrust your work no matter what your best intentions are.”
Additional statements were also provided regarding discussions about YouTube and online gaming media sites providing proper disclosures about conflicts of interest and paid endorsements. However, due to the length of the conversations and e-mails, those particular statements will be published in a second article covering this topic.
[The continuation of the subject matter discussed in this article can be viewed here]
[Disclosure: I was a member of the Game Journo Pros e-mail group]
(Main image courtesy of Modern Method)
Ads (learn more about our advertising policies here)