GameJournoPros: An alternate take on the entire debacle
Now that Milo Yiannopoulos, editor at Breitbart.com, has published his latest article related to GamerGate and GameJournoPros, “The List: Every Journalist In The GameJournoPros Group Revealed,” gamers and GamerGate supporters around the world are clamoring for an explanation.
“Why would professional video game journalists need to establish a private mailing list in order to discuss happenings within the industry they are tasked to cover?”
No doubt a valid question, yet there has been a severe lack of response from the individuals within the GameJournoPros mailing list.
Fortunately, I have been contacted by a member of GameJournoPros by e-mail. My correspondence between the individual (who will remain anonymous until permission is given for the sake of professional courtesy) will be posted later in this article, albeit with certain parts of the messages redacted to preserve his or her anonymity.
Please keep in mind that the point of this piece is to simply show you what the “other side” thinks of the whole GameJournoPros debacle, and, as stated in the disclaimer, is not in support of or against any of the parties involved.
To preface the following, the content of the messages is indeed related to GameJournoPros, and, in the case of the anonymous journalist, attempts to give his or her perspective on the following points:
- The existence of GameJournoPros
- The sudden interest of Milo Yiannopoulos in GamerGate/GameJournoPros
- “Video game/game industry news” and what that entails
- Similar analogs to GameJournoPros (real world press clubs, et cetera)
You can see my e-mail correspondence between the anonymous member of GameJournoPros and myself below:
Note: I have boldfaced certain passages in the conversation that address the above points.
GamerGate, GameJournoPros: Another Look
“Hi, Erwin. This is [REDACTED].
You say in your article (and subsequent comments) that you need more evidence about the GameJournoPros group, but are you reaching out to anybody to try and get that info or are you just going to report on what others write about GJP?
The thumbnail is, it’s a discussion group for professionals within a job category. I’d assume there are similar discussion groups for bartenders, plumbers, etc. It’s not a “shadow government” and we don’t plot on how we’re all going to cover a story. It’s simply a place to talk among us about our jobs. Usually it’s stuff like “when is XXX review code going to be available?” or “who do I talk to to get…” or “did you guys see this article?” or “did you hear XXX is leaving [company]?”
It just amazes me that all these people are writing about the group and indicating it’s a conspiracy without talking to any members to find out what it is. [REDACTED]. Yet, the Breitbart writer has billed me as [REDACTED] on Twitter, which has subsequently caused me to receive *a lot of harassment*. Yet no one seems to want to talk to us to clarify what we’re saying for context and follow up. (Note that the part of the GJP thread about the Quinn situation [REDACTED] is from August 19–a month ago–which is just a couple of days after the story initially broke. I, for one, wasn’t up to speed on all of the details [REDACTED], as they were still being determined.)
But the important thing is, this was just us stating our opinions on the situation, not decreeing how it should be covered. In saying what I did, I didn’t [REDACTED]–the same thing I would say if someone posted your personal information or harassed you in a forum post. Yet, somehow Yiannopoulos doesn’t mention this or contact me for comment, because it’ll take some of the wind out of his sensational story and remove his ability to make me one of the “villains” in his coverage. (Reminder: I’m a member of GJP, [REDACTED], so I have no influence or clout, and I’m not pressuring anyone. Just a guy [REDACTED] who is offering an opinion.)
Seriously, why isn’t anyone trying to get the full and *REAL* story of why GJP exists?”
My Response (#1)
First off, thanks for reaching out to me. To answer your question, I have been trying to reach out to others in regards to GJP, albeit to no avail. Why? I’m not sure.
In all honesty, I can see how GJP could just be a communal ground for innocuous gaming-related events as you suggest in the second paragraph of your e-mail. However, in the wake of current happenings in the gaming industry, specifically “games journalism,” it doesn’t paint many that have been called out in the best light (to say the least.)
I do understand your perspective, and am glad to hear a more grounded response to the situation.
If you don’t mind, could I quote various portions of your email for a future article I might possibly write? If not, I understand, but it would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you have any other information you would like to share, I would love to hear it.
Once again, thanks for the enlightening information.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a good one”
“When Yiannopoulos tweets [REDACTED] it gives no context. To most of the people reading it (judging by the tweets I’ve received as reply to that), people think I just want to censor everyone/everything. Without context, there’s no perspective that this is in response to Escapist’s EIC talking about a forum thread on his site of people talking about Zoe Quinn and her sex life–which was made public by an ex-boyfriend, which is not only a shitty thing to do to someone, but might be illegal (and I believe that time of those forum posts, still not necessarily authenticated.
My take on it is simple: Someone’s sex life isn’t game industry news. It’s potentially news that she slept with a writer, but probably only if there’s definitive bias shown and no one has done that. There’s lots of “he slept with her and he’s a writer, so there must be more to it.” To me (and on any forum that I’ve been a part of), there are always rules of the road, and one basic one is smearing someone or talking about their personal details is off-limits. Just because she’s in the industry and someone else made this stuff public doesn’t open the door (IMO) to the public discussing who this girl slept with. So, my statement above was made with that mindset–I don’t think Escapist should allow what is clearly gossip and likely harassment (albeit indirect, but still private details being discussed publicly) to be posted to their forums. It’s irresponsible and grimy.
Now, if you think Zoe’s sex life is news, then we’ll have to agree to disagree, but I don’t see how this affects readers and games. It’s just gossip, not game journalism. And that’s the basis of what I was saying. Again, GJP is just a message board/e-mail digest, so none of this is people pressuring anyone. If stating opinions on where the line is, is pressure, then we’re guilty, and if saying a forum shouldn’t have this content is censorship and “Orwellian,” then we’re guilty. But it’s not. It’s just stating opinion. I don’t think Escapist did anything more than what Tito said, which was that they were heavily moderating the thread (IMO, still not enough by the peek I just took at it), so they weren’t swayed by our discussion; and I don’t think anyone wrote about it, so this conversation wasn’t “outed,” so to speak, until Yiannopoulos wrote about it the other day.
So, with all that said and with the context I just offered, I’m curious why you think “it doesn’t paint many that have been called out in the best light (to say the least.)” I see it as discussion (sometimes heated, sometimes passionate) about where the journalistic line is in covering a topic like this. Some don’t think it’s news and vehemently state it; others felt it is news (or at least worthy of making money on clicks), so they want to “cover” it and allow their community to talk about it. I don’t see it as “doesn’t paint many…in the best light,” except when it’s provided out of context and without contacting people for comment. To do that, Yiannopoulos would risk ruining his ravaging the pro games press and call for “reform.”
I’m sorry, press clubs have existed for years, and GJP is a virtual version of that. Add to it that there’s camaraderie between many of us doing the same thing–and a certain amount of “cooperation.” Importantly, to qualify that last word , the cooperation is along the lines of someone asking “hey, when does this game come out” or “did anyone get review copies yet” or “what time does the XXX event start,” there’s usually shared conversation about that. Not collusion on how to cover the same story, as has been insinuated; the Zoe Quinn thread Yiannopoulos posted is not “groupthink” on how to cover the story, but honest debate on where lines are and how certain outlets are covering it…which I think it 100x more responsible journalism than posting a *private* forum’s thread with e-mail addresses and phone numbers., and not requesting comment from those being written about.
Look, these two Yiannopoulos pieces and all the tweets around it are clearly hit pieces meant to embarrass and discredit people in GJP…and personally I think it’s Yiannopoulos’ intent to see-saw us–knock us down so that he rises as “the credible voice in game journalism.” He’s baiting people, not offering rebuttal comment and in general finding ways to bring it back around to being about him. The Wikipedia page about him shows lots of attacking, hit-style press and conduct by him; and when you see an article he’s posted called “Why Men Cheat WITH Me, But Not on Me,” it’s clear a lot of his “journalism” will have a portion that’s centered around him. Seriously, is this someone who’s objective, when he said that he’s just “taking down the bad guys” and retweets this image with “I endorse this message”?
It’s 4:30am here, so I’m out. Please…look this over with an open mind and seriously tell me, how did we paint ourselves in a bad light–especially when this guy is the “reporter.”
BTW, if you haven’t already, you should read every single word–maybe twice–of this article Kyle Orland, who started GJP, wrote about the group. It’s a much clearer representation than I’ve given from the guy who started it. It’s not covering up or ducking anything; it’s spelling out in every detail what the group was for and how it’s actually helped how some of these writers/editors cover the industry and deal with issues of being journalists within the game industry.”
“Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. One question though, why are you reaching out to me? I am but a lowly staff writer/editor for an up and coming gaming news site.
I do however understand all your points. And yes, I have read Mr. Orland’s piece. I’m really tempted to write an article that points out the logic and rationale from the opposing side of the whole GJP debacle.
Would you mind if I named you as an anonymous source in that, I wouldn’t give a name, unless you give me permission to do so (out of professional courtesy).
Keep in mind that I’m not for or against either side, I try to stay as objective as possible, but it’s hard to do so.
Also, as for the “painting in a bad light” topic. It’s not so much the actual correspondence between game journos, but the environment and circumstances this whole situation has churned up.
Look forward to hearing back from you.
Have a good one”
End of E-mails (As of this writing)
Now that you’ve seen and read the e-mails above, what are your thoughts on the GameJouroPros member’s point of view?
Honestly, I’ve said as much as I can say about GamerGate and GameJournoPros without breaching objectivity (to the best of my ability).
If you’re really interested in what I have to say in regards to this situation, you can read my previous articles on the subject(s) here (I’ve exceeded my link limit, this is the link to my Author page. You can find my GamerGate and GameJournoPros articles there if you look for them).
I understand that the fact that I “REDACTED” some information may be a cause of concern in regards to the validity of the e-mails, but I can assure you that they are real.
I am also aware of the fact that this article may give off the impression that I am taking the side of those that are part of the GameJournoPros mailing list. Let me state, for the record, that I am not. I am merely revealing this information to you to invite constructive, sensible discussion on the topic. It’s not anti-anything, it’s not pro-anything. It is simply, “Look at this, what do you think about it?”
With that said, I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and opinions on this matter.
As always, I’m sticking to my guns, and being as transparent, honest, and ethical as possible. Please keep that in mind. I have, however, donned my flame armor for the possibility of trolls.
Let it begin.
Erwin Murillo is a graduate of Union University. He has a Bachelor's of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Exercise Science and Wellness/Sports Medicine, and is currently enrolled at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Occupational Therapy Program. As buff as he is nerdy, you can find him either throwing around iron in the gym, or working on his latest video game article...sometimes both. Follow him on Twitter @DesertFoxJr or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.