Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A State of The World That Got Out of Hand

The amusing and growing public relations fiasco at the Beijing games continues, with Canwest News Service reporting the previously reported faked fireworks and lip syncing child at the opening ceremonies, as well as journalists being tailed by authorities, notebooks confiscated, and armored cars near the media tent. Basically, everything people worried might happen when the Games were announced.

It sucks, because such controversy detracts from the performances these athletes have dedicated their lives to.

In campus news, The Lance's favourite whipping post of years past, Ms. Amanda Gellman has announced she's stepping down from her position as VP University Advancement

'University Advancement' basically means 'fundraising' and Gellman's middling performance in that regard over the years brought her no end of scorn in the student press, notably under my tenure as news editor. Hey, we found it comedic that the university built a stadium well beyond what it had the funds for, then had to play catch-up in the following months, because they needed the stadium built for the Junior Pan-Am Games. A hosting gig contingent on the construction of a new stadium. Dizzy yet?

Anyway, best of luck to Gellman in her future endeavours. Lord knows there's always positions in the public sector for the connected to settle into, despite previous performance. Doubt me? Why is her performance not mentioned in either new Prez Wildeman's statement, or the article? Mayhaps cause there ain't much to say.

The problem with web journalism: An issue in the comics/video game/nerdly pursuits media has been the destructively symbiotic relationship between the media and the subjects they cover. A site like Newsarama or IGN needs Marvel Comics or Ubisoft to provide them with exclusives to keep people coming to the site, it's not like either entity has reporters pounding the pavement or digging through garbage to find them. Traffic = dollars, and websites need dollars. Desperately. So the companies get coverage for their next title, and the website gets traffic.

But say made up company Nonesoft has been treating programmers poorly as they approach the launch date of their new first person shooter 'GunFister'. Say a coder on the title was slapped by a Nonesoft manager when he asked to take a day off to spend with his wife and newborn, a week before the final build was to be submitted. The humiliation caused the coder to resign, and now he wants to go public. Hell of a story, right?

Here's the thing: if IGN has plentiful banner ads hyping 'GunFister', they may not run the story. More likely, they'll sit on it til it breaks in the mainstream media, so as not to risk losing valuable revenue.

I'm making all of this up and in no way mean to suggest anything about IGN, but these scenarios have [allegedly] played out before. The moral is: it's just plain bad for reputation when the media relies on the subject it's supposed to be covering for content, but it's the only way most online media, especially of the entertaining variety, can think to do business. But it's asking for trouble.

Which is what Ain't It Cool News has learned this week, after a negative review of The Clone Wars animated film was removed at the request of LucasArts. The lesson: if you want to stay in the loop, play nice, or get shut out.

Good thing I work on hearsay. That's never in short supply, and you end up owing nothing. ^_~


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