Game Journalism 2009: The Continuing Plunge

I have my own long history of near-blunders that were mercifully caught by other eyeballs before hitting print. (As well as actual blunders that weren’t caught—like misspelling Feargus Urquhart’s name multiple times in an old CGW story on Black Isle. )

The bottom line is that no site even pretending to practice some form of “journalism” should be without copy editors. I mean–even one. If you’re posting stuff online without someone vetting it any way first—congratulations, you’re a blog!

If Watergate were happening today or if blogging were around back then, Woodward and Berstein would be blogging the fuck out of it after running through an editor. False dichotomy.

Actually, I disagree. It’s perfectly symbolic of the lack of professionalism that is the very reason everyone, like you, puts “game journalism” in quotes like this. Of course there are plenty of other problems. But if you can’t even get the Journalism 1A stuff right, how can you expect anyone to take you seriously in the first place?

(And, again, I hate to make it seem like I’m bagging on the writer. I save my wrath for whoever the bonehead manager was who figured that copy editors were expendable.)

I think you know what I meant. The crucial part is bolded above. If Woodward and Bernstein ran their pieces through an editor first, then that wasn’t what I was talking about when I used the word “blog.” I meant it as in: an informal online “diary.”

We can say “unprofessional fanzine” if that makes you happier.

No, they’d be twittering it. In clipped abbreviated sentences.

Five years ago, yea, maybe a blog. With no copy editor. Because even then the average reader thinks the only difference between actual journalism and a blog is that they themselves didn’t write the article.

Which sucks. There wouldn’t be a downswing in quality and the ability for management to push the downswing if it wasn’t for readers rewarding “first” instead of “good”.

Absolutely. In my first job, I was shocked to find out that I’d learned to program my Commodores not from a well-known author and really nice guy, but rather from a succession of his editors who did a great job translating his technically accurate articles into accessible, easily read pieces.

I also took great glee in editing Scott Card’s columns. He made the same mistakes as the lowly non-novelists did.

Last time I checked, Word didn’t automatically replace words.

And yes, it’s a two-fold issue. A writer who didn’t fact check her piece, and a website owned by a major national news corporation that doesn’t feel its audience is worthy of having text copy-edited.

Not to harp too much on this one mistake (Bruce is admittedly less well-known than Sid to someone who’s been writing about this stuff for fewer than five years), but it’s endemic of a lack of care, pride, and process in today’s publishing.

A good editor should make a good writer sound like a great writer. Lord knows, all my editors make me sound smarter. Usually.

A good editor should also make the writer screaming mad from time to time.

The other thing is that most online stuff is 5 stories a day. That seriously degrades the quality of the writing. I like to think that any good writer has 1 good piece in them per day, maybe 2. More than that and they won’t take the time to check and research.

All comes back to my recent rant on management. These MBA fuckheads come in and act like writers are word factories. Every word increases hit count. Hits = money from ads. Translation: more not better. WORK WORK WORK WORD SLAVES! And these assholes make 3 times what the writers do.

Why are you mad at “MBAs” or “management” for “maximizing” “profits”? That’s what they’re supposed to do. I can see being pissed at them for making a poor call and firing all the copy editors, but making money?

It’d make more sense to be mad at humanity for preferring quantity and timeliness to quality. Not that that would make much sense either.

I’m just upset at the idea that writers are facrtories on which little knobs can be turned to change the output of the company.

Totally wrong way to look at it.

This is endemic in almost all online media. Some understand, but most don’t.

And to boot, as I am upset at my freelance career grinding to a halt thanks to dead budgets everywhere, can you spot the grammatical error in the FIRST FUCKING PARAGRAPH of this super duper high end magazine story?

Everything is falling apart.

" New Jersey, in 1921 to Italian immigrant parents" remove comma
“at age 13” should be “at the age of 13”
"combining his wages with those of his father, mother, and six siblings to make a single-family income. " what the fuck does that mean?
“my brother and me” should be “my brother and I”
“placed it for him under the tree.” could be clarified to “placed it under the tree for him”

I’m guessing you were referring to “brother and me”. There’s other stuff that needs to be fixed in there, but those were the most glaring issues.

Good get. More than I had found!

I’m no copy editor, but I think any problems that first paragraph has are due to the writer’s style, and editing to be performed would be optional.

The comma after the state is correct according to AP style, I believe. And I think “my brother and me” is right, since it’s referring to himself as a direct object. You wouldn’t write “my father would tell I about the old days” unless you were a Bob Marley song. So “My brother and I” would only work as ther subject of the sentence, like “My brother and I listened to my father…”


He would tell “my brother,” he would tell “me,” therefore he would tell “my brother and me.”

Aeon, you’re fucking fired.

I’m not a copy editor either, but I also think the “my brother and me” is correct since “I” am the subject of the sentence, but the object of the sentence is “me”.

“He would tell my brother and me” - the father, referred to as “he”, is the subject and the brother and the writer are the object. Let’s take one object out at a time: “He would tell my brother” - makes sense. “He would tell me” - also correct. Now let’s replace “me” with “I”: “He would tell my brother and I” - sounds like it makes sense, but it’s not correct since “He would tell I” wouldn’t be.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could put our queries to rest?

Have you used Word 2007? I do at work, and I can assure you that it does just that by default. Although only from a dictionary of commonly misspelled words, which -shouldn’t- enable a Kelley/Shelley switcheroo.

Still, it did, for example, assume that when I was typing the acronym CNA I really meant to be typing CAN in all caps.

If you’re a professional editor, I would think you don’t enable auto-correct, you just keep enabled the red underlining of spellings that don’t pass the program’s dictionary check.

Basically, leaving auto-correct on in any professional setting is stupid.

Didn’t we just establish that they fired the professional editors? :p

I wrote about this in it blog, but the new game informer has a retro review of rogue where they give it an 8/10, which would make this one game, still being played thirty years later, the 8th or 9th best game in that issue. Rogue’s as good as Marble Saga Kororinpa.

I should extend that to “anybody who should give a shit about their spelling.”

So college students and graduates fit into that category.