Games Journalism and the 'No Cheering in the Press Box' Rule

August 16, 2010 -

A lot of journalists that cover video games do not enjoy being called the "enthusiast press." Some are even embarrassed when their colleagues cheer at press events or have a "f**k yeah!!" moment caught on film during a new game announcement. AJ Glasser from GamePro is one of those journalists that takes what she does seriously.

In an editorial about QuakeCon and journalism (where, she says, developers at the "Building Blockbusters" panel seemed to take issue with quiet games journalists), Glasser talks about the popular sports journalism rule "no cheering in the press box." The good news is that some games journalists are following the rule.

Recalling a sports journalism course she took at Stanford University and a book with the same name, she lays out the fundamentals of it:

The "no cheering in the press box" rule was introduced to me in a sports journalism course taught at Stanford University. The rule is also the title of a book of essays from famous sports journalists who wrote during the golden age of sports between World War I and World War II. The writers in that book were obviously sports fans and very passionate about the games and athletes they chronicled -- read Grantland Rice's New York Sun article "Game Called" if you don't believe me -- but eulogies and poems aside, sports writers in the early 20th Century followed the same no cheering in the press box rule as the professional sports writers of today. Having read that book and taken that course, I believe games journalists should, too.

She goes on to say that cheering and clapping at press events and product reveals is commonplace in games journalism, but this allows "developers and publicists to treat us as fans and not as professionals." As an illustration of this in action, Glasser reminds us of the horrible Project Natal event during E3 and the subsequent Microsoft E3 Media Briefing:

Take Microsoft's Project Natal reveal event at E3 this year, for example. Everyone -- every reporter, every analyst, and every industry professional in attendance -- had to wear those weird white space ponchos and actively participate in the spectacle. There was no sitting back, no observing. Not even any real reporting at the event because attendees were banned from liveblogging or Twittering (although plenty broke the rule).

I didn't feel like a professional journalist at that event -- I felt like a partygoer at Carnival, sans the booze. I wanted to be there for the information, I would've liked to sit back and watch the crowd's reaction to the games, but I was too busy trying not to trip over Cirque du Soleil performers while jockeying for a better view of the stage where we thought there'd be games. Turned out USA Today already had a press release with each of the games listed and they wound up with more information than any of the reporters that actually attended the event. Oh, and the event was televised -- so technically, we journalists weren't even partygoers, we were stage props.

After the Natal reveal, I worked myself in a state of righteous journalism indignation that lasted for about 12 hours. Then, I attended Microsoft's E3 press conference the following day and saw exactly what Microsoft was thinking when it threw that Natal event. Hundreds of people filled every available seat at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, and nearly every single one clapped like a madman whenever a producer came on stage to introduce their product. Even the products that didn't seem very interesting got resounding applause -- and when they announced at the end of the event that each attendee would be getting a free New Xbox 360 unit, that clapping erupted into a standing ovation.

You should read the whole article on GamePro - especially if you are a game journalist that tends to get caught up in the moment.

 

Source: Troy Goodfellow


Comments

Re: Games Journalism and the 'No Cheering in the Press Box' ...

Bah.....people are to excited for watered down media.....


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Re: Games Journalism and the 'No Cheering in the Press Box' ...

Pah, what gaming "press"? There hasn't been any journalism in games journalism since people have been writing about games.

Re: Games Journalism and the 'No Cheering in the Press Box' ...

We must have more moments like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPbY6SkGA5M

 

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There are only 10 types of people in this world, people who know binary and people who don't.

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There are only 10 types of people in this world, people who know binary and people who don't.

Re: Games Journalism and the 'No Cheering in the Press Box' ...

I wouldn't mind a no cheering rule in some cases. Plus microsoft deserve no cheering at there e3 events.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Games Journalism and the 'No Cheering in the Press Box' ...

 The advocate reviewers are giving game reviewers a bad name. Especially after the debacle that was Modern Warfare II and their glowing reviews for it. When you actually bought it for the PC you discovered it was an extremely short solo play and instantly hackable multi-player. The average user review is far lower than the reviewer scores. I wonder what they were bribed with to produce such out of wack scores. 

Re: Games Journalism and the 'No Cheering in the Press Box' ...

I don't cheer but that's mostly because I'm a stick in the mud.  I don't mind applause and cheering if it's something you're genuinely excited about.  Most of us are big gaming fans after all.  But I do dislike when it gets obnoxious or when the cheers are undeserved.

 

Andrew Eisen

 
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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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