What Really Grinds My Gears: Non News

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Today WPR blogger Jamie Gibson said that he ate Fish, chips and beans for his tea. Now you’d better go blog that, because apparently that is what constitutes as news. To get straight to the rant, I’m becoming more and more annoyed by what could be called “non news”.  A petty complaint you might think and perhaps it is. After all, surely what is considered non news is entirely subjective. However, I’m just going to go over  my two personal pet peeves. While I’ll talk more specifically about news in gaming, the same annoyances can be applied to news about any medium or just general news reporting.

When somebody in an industry or organisation says something that has no impact on anything whatsoever.

This was the point I was trying to make in  the opening paragraph. It’s a silly example, because who in their right mind would go report that? But then, there have been many times when a developer of some game or “celebrity” in the gaming industry for lack of a better word says something, most of the time while being interviewed, and then within a few hours all of the blogs will have picked up on what they’ve said. That’s not to say I have a problem with that idea. After all, some developers will reveal information that is relevant and worthy of news reporting. For example, if it weren’t for Lorne Lanning in the latest issue of EGM, we wouldn’t have found out last week that Abe’s Oddysee is getting a HD remake. Of course, Just Add Water would have made it known at some point, but the fact that we heard it from him first made it worth reporting. If what they said is part of a bigger article, then I’m alright with that too. On the other hand, basing a whole news story about a developer saying something like “My game is going to push the boundaries of its genre” is a load of bollocks. What exactly would a reader gain out of that? Raised expectations? It just comes off more as an extension of PR and the only information it provides is that a developer thinks their game is good. Well done Captain Obvious. Peter Molyneux’s been playing that game for years.

Reporting on analysts is the other big offender. You know who I’m talking about specifically. I don’t have anything against Pachter himself. Hey, the man’s got to pay the bills, if someone like Wedbush Morgan want to pay him to give his predictions on everyone and everything, then all power to him. But honestly, if I cared about his opinion, I would find out what he’s been saying at the website of the aforementioned company or whoever he originally spoke to. Again, whatever he said isn’t going to affect me or Joe Bloggers at all. This product is going to be dead on arrival? To quote The Dude, that’s just like, your opinion man. It has no consequences on the reader or the product, it’s just someone’s opinion. That person just happens to have a fancy title and a fat paycheck. Blogs would be updated per nanoseconds if everyone’s opinion was news worthy. This is my opinion, and it provides just as little news values, so I wouldn’t expect someone else to go report on this article like my opinion was actually important. The Newspaper industry is like this with its obsession with celebrity culture. It doesn’t matter. Keep it to the ridiculous amount of magazines dedicated to famous people that have little to no impact on society whatsoever.

“News” posted that has absolutely nothing to do with the theme of your product, a name drop at best.

Again, you probably know who I’m talking about. The so called “Gamer’s Guide”, Kotaku. It’s gotten to the point where it’s not surprising in the slightest, only how long it takes for them to loosely link an event to video games. If you’ve been keeping an eye on current events lately then you’ll no doubt have heard about the ongoing events in Egypt. The people of the country have been protesting since the 25th January against the reign of President Mubarak, who has been in power for the last 30 years. Now, from this short description, does this sound like it has anything to do with video games in the slightest? Kotaku certainly seemed to think so. The reason? A few placards and pieces of graffiti that had the phrase game over. I don’t think I need to further explain how moronic this link is. Game Over isn’t even a phrase exclusive to gaming. One of the most famous quotes from James Cameron’s Aliens is Hudson’s “game over man, game over!” Better go make a post now about what affect video games had on Ripley when it came to fighting Xenomorphs. It shouldn’t be hard, the franchise is already a part of geek culture.

There’s a place for lighter posts. The culture of your medium is fair play to write about, even if it is something just as simple as a Mario cake. But when you post about say, the death of Michael Jackson and justify it because there was a game based on Moonwalker, then it becomes too ridiculous to comprehend and it’s insulting to your readers.

And that’s just two of my pet peeves with reporting in video games, but the same concepts can be applied more broadly to any reporting of any mediums. I’ll be the first to admit, it’s sometimes hard to judge what you think will benefit your readers. There have been many a time where I have started writing a post and then thought “Are WPR readers really going to be interested or be informed by this post.” Well damn, I’ve probably just made that mistake now by babbling on about my opinion. Erm….pyramids. There we go. This article now has the word pyramids. There are pyramids in Egypt. Egypt is news worthy right now. Long rant justified.

Anyway, it’s just like, my opinion man.

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