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Tabloid Game Journalism: Banking On Bin Laden

Posted on Thursday, May 5 @ 10:01:03 PST by

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!


Anthony_Severino
by Anthony_Severino
Game journalism is a tough row to hoe. There's so much competition out there, especially online, and the largest of media outlets monopolize all of the exclusives that help to bring in users. So it's somewhat understandable when the little guys blow things out of proportion, making a mountain out of a molehill. But when a respected newspaper does it? For shame.

This latest example has a "blogger" representing the eight-time Pulitzer Prize winner, The Seattle Times, using Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden's death to draw attention to his video game story. Or should I say completely not true, tabloid-esque junk.

Even the title of the article isn't sure if what the author is writing is a valid story. Brier Dudley asks the nonsensical question: Osama bump for Sony's Navy SEALs game? Then proceeds to answer that very question with a resounding no.

The author "bets" that SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs for PlayStation 3 will get a "boost from the newfound appreciation for the Navy commandos". I can see that too. The heroic actions of the team of elite soldiers who brought the world's most nefarious villain to justice are to be admired. I'm also a betting man, but I don't have the luxury on betting that news might happen, and then running a story on my instincts, warranted or not.

You see, in journalism, much of what you say must be backed up by fact. Brier Dudley didn't land his job with The Seattle Times without knowing this, and so he turned to SOCOM developer Zipper Interactive's President, Brian Soderberg for a comment. Soderberg then referred Dudley to a "Sony spokeswoman who said the company is still working on extracting sales data for the game".

Realizing that his "bet" wasn't exactly panning out, he checked with Jill Webber, a public relations manager for SCEA, to see if an Abbottabad (the city in Pakistan where Bin Laden was discovered to be hiding) map pack would be released for SOCOM 4. Webber explained that tastefully "there are no plans to develop any future content based on the event,".

I guess Dudley's bet didn't pay off, so he skipped on this idea. Right? Wrong. So very wrong. No, the article was published yesterday morning, where he says Sony isn't telling if they've seen a sales boost after news broke of Bin Laden's death at the hands of real U.S. Navy SEALs.

Newsflash, Dudley, Sony's got bigger fish to fry right now and likely isn't seeing a boost in a game that's primary focus is to play online. Especially not when their PlayStation Network has been down since the game released on April 19th -- a release date that he even pauses to point out. So much for offering a "critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest".

When the chips are down, and you don't have a worthy article -- but you publish it anyway -- how exactly do you close your tabloid-laden stain on the good name of The Seattle Times? The same way I'll end my little rant here, with...

A screenshot:



Now where the fuck is our Pulitzer Prize?
Related Games:   Socom 4: U.S. Navy Seals
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