I haven’t been a hardcore gamer since the days of Doom and Quake. I don’t generally read gaming journalism, if I want to know something about any given game I’ll usually just pull up a playthrough on YouTube. Basically, I’m just a casual gamer these days.
Nevertheless, I’ve followed the sound and fury of #GamerGate with heightened interest, in part because I love a good debate about ethics and in part because the culture war parallels to organized freethought are nigh impossible to miss.
Last weekend, the Society of Professional Journalists hosted an event called SPJ Airplay, during which highly professional journalists met with a few of the most respectable and well-known (non-pseudonymous) figures in the GamerGate consumer movement.
The morning panel discussed the nature of journalistic ethics and specific real-world examples where gaming journalism fell short:
(The audio is painfully bad at first, but it gets better.)
The afternoon panel focused more on the mechanics of how the media should cover an ostensibly leaderless movement entrenched in the midst of a vicious culture war:
If you care about ethics, journalism, or the nature of social media movements in the modern age, you will probably find these videos enlightening. I enjoyed the morning panel somewhat more; it was calm, well-reasoned, and focused tightly on the topic at hand. The afternoon panel had a somewhat higher heat to light ratio, and many more instances of people raising their voices to be heard over one another. Still, it may be the more important of the two, since the issues discussed therein are less straightforwardly solved by applying traditional journalistic ethics to the problems at hand.
The only thing I have to add here is that if you are trying to reach out to a leaderless and diffusely distributed digital movement, consider finding a quantitative analyst who can actually crunch the numbers and determine who has the most influence according to the data.