|The credible ethics of gaming journalism has been brought into question after it was discovered that a few journalists tweeted a hashtag in exchange for a PS3 during the Gaming Media Awards.
Now the question of how close gaming journalists are to the industry has been brought up by Ewan Aiton while Steven Sukkau brings up the difficulty regarding video game journalism. However their opinion also applies to the profession of journalism and the ethical balance that every journalist has to walk.
Almost every journalist (my self included) enter the profession with the idealist dream of becoming the next Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (obviously gaming journalism was not my first choice). However these dreams are crushed when upon the realization of how the profession actually works.
Regardless of ones subject of choice, a reporter is useless without a reliable network of sources and contacts, hence is best advised not to burn your source. But than there is the ethical line of how close a writer is to the source that may be questionable.
When a journalist is faced with such a challenge, it takes time to outweigh the significance over the risks.
For freelancers and hew hires at a gaming publication its best to be acquainted with as many sources as possible. However the more established journalists need to exist out of their comfort zone. I admit a lot of game critics work like they are Roger Ebert living in fear.
What those journalists did at the GMA is just unethical bribery, but Aiton is right in that the gaming journalism needs to stop being the PR arm of the industry. Gaming journalists need to follow the examples of film critics in being objective and not working in fear of rattling the carrot stick.
Or at least work with the same ethical standards that all journalist work with to protect their credibility.
To have a better understanding for the ethical line and challenges journalists have to overcome, watch The Newsroom on HBO.