Reviews of Stuff (Which Probably Aren’t Gonna Happen) – Ethics in Pulp Journalism

I’ve added a lot of contemporary stuff to my reading pile lately, but for a handful of reasons, I probably won’t be actually reviewing a lot of it.

I’ve reached a point where conflicts of interest are going to put a damper on a lot of the content I could write about the newer stuff on my reading list. If I feel particularly strongly about a work that i want to share, I may end up singing it from the rooftops with the appropriate disclaimer, but…

Pulp Revolution Folks

I really can’t review stuff coming out of the Pulp Revolution crowd honestly and dispassionately. I’m too close with many of the writers and in some cases have even offered services to see stuff get to market.  If there’s something I like, my review will doubtlessly be colored by my personal relationship with folks involved. If there’s something I don’t like, I’ll be tempted to restrain criticism on account of those personal relationships. A lot of these people have written reviews for Cirsova, and I don’t want to get into review swapping. Not just that, they’ve spent money on us, buying copies and sometimes advertisements, and no negative review can be trusted, because no matter what, I’ll be writing in ways that don’t chase fans away.

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I will likely avoid reviewing works by writers or editors who have advertised with us or done ad-swaps. At least within a recent time-frame. I’ll be sure to try to highlight those works and creators who have tried to support us, but I won’t be reviewing, because a positive review will look like I’m sucking up to capital and a negative review would be self-consciously written to not drive away future capital.

I’ve ad-swapped with Red Sun and with Storyhack, and I’m happy to talk those guys up; I’ve referred authors to the former when I haven’t had money or space, and I’ll likely do the same with the latter in the future. But I probably won’t review specific stories or issues of those publications.

Other Stuff

Some folks have sent me stuff for review. If I have it in print, I’ll try to get to it in a reasonable amount of time, I really can’t add anything else to my queue for a bit. Open submissions are coming up, and that’s going to be taking up A LOT of my time.

I already feel like the quality of my content is slipping because I have too many things going on.  I’d like to be able to maintain my daily M-F schedule, but if I need to dial it back in June and July, I might have to.

 

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Liana Kerzner and Society of Professional Journalism President-elect Lynn Walsh Talk Ethics in Games Journalism

I know I’ve shared a few of these, but this discussion series has been great and absolutely needs more attention than it’s getting.

 

#Gamergate SPJ

Articles on the SPJ Gamergate Airplay Bomb-threat justify SPJ Gamergate Airplay.

“Bomb threats closed down a debate on the controversial topic of women’s representation in video games at a Society of Professional Journalists event in Miami on Saturday.” – Rise Miami News

(Also, Gamergate is one word, guys.)

So, Gamergate had its day, Koretzky Koretzkyed, and the thing ended with the bomb threat which we feared but all knew might happen. Fortunately, the event was NOT totally shut down, and some of our voices were heard. I say some, of course, because not only did several people that we would have loved to hear speak dropped out, either for personal reasons or because they were so offput and alienated by Koretzky that they refused to go, but even if everyone had gone, there’s no way that everyone would hear their concerns voiced.

I’m sure that anyone who cares about this story has already seen Milo & Christina’s remarks, but here are the links anyway.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/15/what-you-missed-this-afternoon-at-spj-airplay-from-christina-hoff-sommers/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/15/what-i-meant-to-say-before-that-bomb-threat/

What struck me was Ren, one of the journalists on the panel who were all “Derp why are you concerned about ethics & Gawker? We all know Gawker’s unethical, lolz! It’s readers fault for not knowing Gawker is Gawker.” Seriously? Journalistic victim blaming. Dude who stood up and said Gawker destroys lives? Kudos to him! Totally sent Ren all “Well, I’m not saying blah blah, i’ll shut up now…”

If more Journalists were like Lynn Walsh, there would not have been a Gamergate. To paraphrase, she said ‘If someone was involved in some way with a story, I would not even let them touch the story: writing, notes, meetings, anything. And to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, because there might be ‘shop talk’ going on, I would note in the story that an employee who did not work on the story had ties to the story.’

GG side of the morning panel was super-pro; I just wish they’d been able to talk about more examples than vague generalities that the Journalist panel steered things toward. I didn’t know anything about Mark, but he handled himself really well and I was impressed. I wish Ashe spoke as well as she wrote, but I was happy to have her there because she does know her stuff. One thing that she touched on was journalists in politics being in relationships with politicians, staffers and consultants, but, unlike what Ashe says, it DOES happen in real journalism. To me, the biggest disappointment about gamergate is that it remained so focused on gaming journalism that gamers did not take the next logical steps to say “Not only are the people covering Ubisoft sleeping with the PR heads of Ubisoft, the people covering Washington are sleeping with staffers and political consultants!”

I haven’t had a chance to catch up on all of it, but I hear that Ollie DID end up filling in on the panel after Milo and Christina left following the bomb threat. He looks like Blade.

Ollie

It’ll take me ages to catch up on all of the post SPJ news, but I’m starting with my two favorite sources combined into one: Veemonro & Sargon did a stream of the whole thing. Check it here.

The next big clusterfuck this month will be Worldcon. No matter what happens, nothing will be fixed, there will still be wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the ordeal will go on. Unlike Airplay, I don’t know that there will be as much to celebrate about because of the event’s nature. Sasquan isn’t going to vindicate either side, and follow-up stories will be either “Sexist, racist homophobes sweep Hugos, destroy science fiction!” or “Sexist, racist homophobes defeated in bid to destroy science fiction!”

Update: Kudos to Rise: Miami News for issuing a (rather poor) correct, but especially for offering the opportunity for people who were there to weigh in.  Even if they did manage to give us a really bad example of “Cowboy Bebop at His Computer“.

The following is an opinion piece penned after multiple bomb threats shut down a Miami based discussion on ethics in video game journalism, also known by the shorthand- GamerGate.”

Update 2: God, the second half of SPJ is like a retread of the Fox debate; supposed moderator doing all of the talking. Even Derek Smart called Koretzky out on trying to derail.  Also, the whole “Well, gee, what if we’d talked to one of those e-celebs like Sargon of Akkad for his opinion?” “That would’ve been a great start.”

Update 3: Lynn Walsh is probably going to be Gamergate’s new waifu, at least for the next couple of weeks.

Entertainment Weekly Publishes Gross Libel Against Larry Correia & Other Authors Promoting Sad Puppies Slate; Quickly Retracts After Possible Legal Threat

UPDATE CORRECTION!: The original article which published the libel ACTUALLY LINKED TO THE PAGE THAT DISPROVED THE INITIAL CLAIM!  SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL!?

Update 2: Isabella Biedenharn’s twitter account has been deleted.  After Larry Correia tweeted his outrage about the original article, Isabella tweeted him offering to “hear his side”.  Note that standard journalistic practice is to contact the subject of an article for comment prior to publication.

In one of the most disgusting bits of Journalistic failure of the “Did Not Even Google It Right” variety I’ve seen, Entertainment Weekly wrote:

The Hugo Awards have fallen victim to a campaign in which misogynist groups lobbied to nominate only white males for the science fiction book awards. These groups, Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies (both of which are affiliated with last year’s GamerGate scandal), urged sci-fi fans to become members of the Hugo Awards’ voting body, World Science Fiction Convention, in order to cast votes against female writers and writers of color. Membership only costs $40, and allows members to vote for the 2016 nominations as well as the 2015 nominations, which were just released.

Firstly, these “misogynistic” groups include a number of women writers.  Second, the person who initially wrote the article didn’t even bother to look at the slate.  Third, other than Vox Day (who is himself a game developer), none of the SP/RP authors involved in promoting the slates are particularly outspoken Gamergate supporters, and even Vox Day is not particularly well known within Gamergate community.  Fourthly, “urging fans…to cast votes against female writers and writers of color”?  Seriously?  The guy who started SP is Portuguese*, and WHY DIDN’T YOU GOOGLE THE LIST YOU WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT!?

In the correction, Entertainment Weekly acknowledges that:

…Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.

But why did it take Brad Torgerson explaining that to you?  YOU’D HAVE KNOWN IF YOU GOOGLED THE FREAKING LIST YOU WROTE YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT!

Even with the published correction, ISABELLA BIEDENHARN needs to lose her job.   I do not call for people’s jobs lightly, and this may have been the first time I have ever done so on Cirsova, but you DO NOT need to be anywhere in the journalistic profession, even writing for a rag as tepid and worthless as Entertainment Weekly if you CANNOT EVEN SUCCESSFULLY GOOGLE THE SUBJECT OF YOUR ARTICLE.

Here, let me Google that for you:

sp google

Oh, look!  A link to a list of all misogynist white male only authors(NOT!) is the first thing that comes up!  Seriously, Entertainment Weekly, you should fire any of your journalists who don’t know how to Google things and print libel because it’s easier.

Judging by his twitter feed, Larry Correia could very well be serious about taking legal action for Libel.  As I’ve shown, not only is the initial paragraph of EW’s article complete bunk, its claims are verifiably – BY THE FIRST RESULT ON GOOGLE – false and slanderous to all of the authors included on the slate and the writers who fought to get them nominated.  This isn’t “Oh, we got a source’s quote wrong”, this is damn near UVA “made the whole thing up” up wrong.

ISABELLA BIEDENHARN, get out of the industry, hide yourself in shame! You are a discredit to your profession.

Actually it’s about ethics in Sci-Fi Journalism