SPJ Kunkel Awards Adds New Category That Could Help Combat Fake News

If video game journalism was a toothbrush and gamers were the teeth, the toothpaste would be the content journalists put out, and that paste would be made up of seagull vomit that was digested and regurgitated through the bowels of a squirrel living in a landfill while suffering from dysentery. Well, this year the SPJ’s Kunkel Awards will actually hand out an award for the game journalist who managed to achieve being the worst of the worst in 2016. Gamers will finally have an official journalistic institution recognizing the unhealthy toothpaste they’ve been consuming all this time.

The news came from a post over on the Society of Professional Journalists blog by regional director Michael Koretzky. It was posted December 21st, 2016 and titled “So bad they win”.

Koretzky explains that the new category “Worst story of the year” isn’t about humiliation but to help the journalist(s) improve, writing…

“Did these reporters interview only one source? Was that source wrong on the facts? Did they forget to check those facts? Did they violate damn near every entry in the SPJ Code of Ethics?


“Those reporters might be evil. Or they might be tired.


“[…] The goal here isn’t humiliation. It’s education. So this is the only Kunkel Award that comes with a prize: A free year of SPJ membership.”

The biggest problem isn’t actually a problem isolated to video game journalism, though. Gamers were the only ones who had the balls of steel and ovaries of obsidian to stand up against the corruption happening within the gaming industry. Gamers fought back through #GamerGate – crippling the corruption at its knees like a baseball bat striking a gambling addict from an overzealous loan shark.

#GamerGate exposed the corruption and then did something about it by getting advertisements pulled. It wasn’t because journalists got a few facts wrong, it was because they outright lied and fabricated falsehoods designed to damage the gaming industry. In fact, we recently covered Gamasutra literally making up a falsehood on Markus “Notch” Persson in order to further their harassment narrative.

That doesn’t even go into the territory of mainstream media, who have gone so far off the deep end that “fake news” is now an understatement for the kind of violations they’ve committed from the SPJ rule book. In fact, they recently went so far as to desecrate the accomplishments of the deceased, such as human trafficking activist Monica Petersen – with sites like Washington Post literally making up information about her in order to distance her work from the investigation she was making into the Clinton Foundation.

It’s not even about missing a few facts or being a little tired, it’s the fact that the media have outright turned into the Ministry of Truth; they peddle propaganda as gospel, and doomsay common sense and curiosity. Asking questions has been labeled as “harassment”, and seeking evidence is broadcast as “sea-lioning”.

Many of the larger sites are also opting to close out their comment sections entirely to avoid commenters from spreading actual truth to readers, with Vice being one of the more recent mainstream outlets to cut off their comment section for good.

I don’t know if handing out just one award will do the trick, given that there are so many outlets out there who just don’t mind making things up to push their own agenda.


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

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