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SPJ Airplay Morning Recap

Don Parsons / August 15, 2015 at 10:08 PM / Gaming, News

Note: This article includes coverage only of the morning portion of SPJ Airplay. Coverage on the evening portion and the bomb threat will be detailed in another article. 

This morning the SPJ Airplay show began with thunder, and the Internet collectively sat around the spectacle with popcorn in hand, readying themselves to commentate throughout. So what did?

Airplay began with a number of technical issues, mostly effecting audio. These were mostly resolved those syncing issues persisted throughout the day, as well as occasional feedback. It was revealed most of the audio work was done by John Smith along with other volunteers who worked to keep the audio in check. Viewers on Twitter were mostly forgiving of the issues, some even offering advice.  The issues did not deter the panel.

The panels in the morning consisted of three “pro-GamerGate” members, beginning with Mark Ceb, Ashe Schow, and Alumm Bokhari. On the other side, three neutral parties: Ren LaForme of the Poynter Institute, Lynn Walsh of SPJ, and Derek Smart, a games developer. Michael Koretzky, who has been the mastermind behind coordinating Airplay and working with the SPJ to make the event happen, moderated and introduced the panel and structure. The first topic was on GamerGate itself, as the pro panel attempted to describe to the unknowing journalists on the other side what the movement was. Schow gave the timeline from the start, beginning with the Zoe Post, and how it evolved to the point it is at now. Bokhari mentioned that it was not necessarily a new issue. There was a great deal of focus on the nature of the Zoe Post, and some on Reddit and Twitter shared concerns about the discussion, believing that the movement had not been well defined. The journalists on the panel also said that they did not believe it was defined well enough, criticizing the panelists for not bringing anything prepared.

Afterwards, specific examples regarding complaints GamerGate participants have investigated were discuss. Schow spoke on Max Tempkins, the creator of Cards Against Humanity, and the rape accusation levied against him that Kotaku covered on their site. This led into a general discussion about Gawker, the parent company of several news sites, including Kotaku.  LaForme joked, “If we come away with anything today, it’s that the Gawker network has ethics issues,” saying it isn’t something worth taking time to discuss. Lynn Walsh, when asked her opinion of Gawker said, “…I would never quote, nor cite them”. Other panelists pointed out that Gawker reaches many readers, and is taken seriously by the general public, therefore is worth discussing. Also on the topic of Kotaku were the many alleged ethical breaches of Patricia Hernandez, a contributor for the site. The panel on both sides agreed that those breaches were serious, and Kotaku editing staff had not done enough to address them.

The panel spoke about the Jeff Gertsman controversy, in which the former GameSpot employee was fired after giving certain games lower scores, and revealed the trend of games which are advertised or sponsor review sites receiving better scores. After questions, the panelists discussed how the SPJ and Poynter could do to improving gaming journalism and generally in terms of the complaints leveled by GamerGate. It was recommended that the SPJ consider opening a group specifically for video game journalists, allowing them to better moderate that field. Other recommendations were on how the SPJ fields questions from video game journalists, and to encourage someone to report fairly on gaming journalism specifically.

The panel also discussed the importance of labeling stories appropriately as news, editorial, or otherwise, a point that was met with universal agreement. Throughout the panel, the SPJ Airplay Twitter occasionally shared questions and quotes. Note: Below is the remastered version of the morning panel with fixed audio. 

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.