GameJournoPros

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GameJournoPros is a now-defunct private Google Group consisting of 150 writers, bloggers, and editors from various game news sites and media outlets. The mailing list, group members, and various leaked email conversations have sparked online discussion in the video game community's ongoing Gamergate controversy.[1][2]

The group was directly inspired by JournoList, according to its creator, Ars Technica Senior Editor Kyle Orland.[3] The existence of GameJournoPros and its leaked email conversations play a major part in the case made by #GamerGate that the game media industry is guilty of collusion, corruption and attempted censorship.


Creation and Discovery

The GameJournoPros mailing list was created on 31 August 2010 by Orland, and was active until sometime in late September 2014. The group played host to around 150 writers and editors from multiple competing gaming websites, such as Polygon, Kotaku, Destructoid, The Escapist, Game Informer, Ars Technica, QVC, PCWorld, and IGN, along with several freelance writers.

The group first came to public attention on September 17, 2014 when Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos revealed the existence of the GameJournoPros mailing list in an article that published pieces of an email conversation conducted by various gaming journalists regarding the Zoe Quinn Scandal.[4] It was revealed in the email conversation that Kyle Orland suggested using the scandal "as an excuse to give more attention to [Quinn's] work" and Polygon's Ben Kuchera encouraged fellow journalists to avoid talking about the issue and to censor discussions about it occurring on their site forums. Yiannopoulos later leaked the rest of the email conversation on his personal website, where it was revealed that Wired's Andrew Groen suggested the group collaborate on a public letter of support for Quinn signed by "as many sympathetic journalists/developers" as possible, and Ben Kuchera and GamePolitics editor James Fudge unsuccessfully attempted to convince The Escapist Editor-in Chief Greg Tito to censor his site's forum discussion regarding Quinn. Although many of the email conversation's participants were in support of censoring the topic completely, some journalists such as Game Informer's Mike Futter and The Escapist's Greg Tito disagreed with or expressed concern over calls for censorship and using their public reach and influence to promote Quinn.[5]

The exposé of the GameJournoPros mailing list shortly after the barrage of the Gamers Are Dead articles all but confirmed suspicions that gaming journalism was full of collusion and pushed narratives.

Continued Leaks

In the following month, three other email conversations were leaked detailing the group's response to the initial leak,[6][7] the relationship between journalists and PR[8] and the group's closing shortly after the initial leak.[9]

Following the first email leak, the GameJournoPros member list[10] was leaked by one of its members, Cinema Blend writer Willliam Usher. In an interview with APGNation, Usher stated his reasons for leaking the list and supporting GamerGate, that "[s]ome of the members on that list actively used their platform to support and propagate a wide-sweeping media narrative based on lies and factual inaccuracies."[11]

Usher, writing for Cinema Blend and his own blog, also discussed GameJournoPros role in blacklisting game developer and former Destructoid writer Allistair Pinsof.[12] Multiple game news sites reported that indie game developer Chloe Sagal was crowdfunding a surgery on Indiegogo that she stated was to remove shrapnel from her body. Following Indiegogo's pulling of the campaign for reasons of fraud, Sagal streamed her attempted suicide via Twitch. Shortly after Sagal's suicide attempt, Pinsof revealed on Twitter that Sagal's fraudulent campaign was not funding a surgery for shrapnel removal, but rather a sex reassignment.

Members of GameJournoPros weighed in when questioned by Yanier "Niero" Gonzalez, owner of Destructoid, on whether or not to fire Pinsof. Kyle Orland, freelance writer Jonathan Deesing, and senior Polygon reviewer Danielle Riendeau all suggested that Pinsof should be fired.[13]

After Pinsof was fired, Destructoid Editor-in-Chief Dale North, in an email to GameJournoPros, advised the group to not respond to communication attempts from "a certain problem child." Orland identified the "problem child" as "ALLISTAIR ALLISTAIR ALLISTAIR."[14]

On November 4, 2014, Usher revealed four more unlisted members of the GameJournoPros on Twitter.[15]

On January 8, 2015, A Plant Posted an updated list of the GameJournoPros adding in members not on the initial Breitbart list. On January 10, A Plant posted a list of all the job changes various members had undergone since the initial leak.[16][17]

Response from GameJournoPros Members

The authenticity of the leak was verified by group creator, Ars Technica Senior Editor Kyle Orland, who apologized for making statements in the conversation that he "soon came to regret." Orland denied the allegations of collusion, stating that GameJournoPros "has never had litmus tests, partisan slant, or other viewpoint-based membership criteria," and that "Ars Technica management did not know of the existence of the list." [18]

Polygon Editor-in-Chief Christopher Grant, also addressing concerns of writer collusion and media bias in an editor's letter, stated that discussions regarding ethics and disclosures were common on the group, and that most of the group's members often disagreed with one another.[19]

GamePolitics.com editor James Fudge has stated that he neither regrets his participation in GameJournoPros nor will apologize for any of his private statements "that were made public by former members that lack integrity, decency, loyalty, or honor."[20]

Destructoid Editor-in-Chief Dale North announced his resignation October 21, citing disagreement with the actions of Destructoid management, along with his discomfort attaching his name to Destructoid staff.[21] North did not specify GamerGate or GameJournoPros in his resignation.

Relation To GamerGate

The original email leak published by Milo Yiannopoulos serves as evidence that permanent game media staff members and freelance reporters would discuss what news to cover, how exactly to cover a news topic and what tone to take with reporting on the news. However, neither the implications of GameJournoPros, nor its relevance in Gamergate's complaints regarding video game journalism, have been adequately addressed by the majority of the industry or mainstream media outlets.

The members of GameJournoPros did not act as a cohesive unit in all cases. Members would voice disagreements with others on certain issues and voice concerns regarding how other members handled a issue, according to Usher.[22] While not everyone in GameJournoPros was in complete agreement with what every other member did, it is worth noting that most of the time such objections went unheeded or were dismissed.

List of Members

References

  1. Kain, Erik. "The Escapist Forums Brought Down in DDoS Attack." http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/09/20/the-escapist-forums-brought-down-in-ddos-attack/. Forbes.com.
  2. Johnson, Eric. "Understanding the Jargon of Gamergate." http://recode.net/2014/10/10/understanding-the-jargon-of-gamergate/. Re/code.
  3. https://i.imgur.com/uP6HvaD.jpg
  4. Yiannopoulos, Milo. "Exposed: The Secret Mailing List of the Gaming Journalism Elite." http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite Breitbart London.
  5. http://yiannopoulos.net/2014/09/19/gamejournopros-zoe-quinn-email-dump/
  6. Yiannopoulos, Milo. "'They're On to Us': Gaming Journalists Respond to their Critics in Series of New GameJournoPros Emails." http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/22/They-re-on-to-us-gaming-journalists-respond-to-their-critics-in-series-of-new-GameJournoPros-emails Breitbart London.
  7. http://yiannopoulos.net/2014/09/22/new-gamejourno-pro-leak-the-email-summaries/,
  8. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/10/10/GameJournoPros-joking-about-paid-reviews-and-mocking-Phil-Fish
  9. Yiannopoulos, Milo. 'It's been real': GameJournoPros Prepares to Close its Doors." http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/10/02/It-s-been-real-GameJournoPros-prepares-to-close-its-doors. Breitbart London.
  10. Yiannopoulos, Milo. "We Reveal Every Journalist on the List." http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/21/GameJournoPros-we-reveal-every-journalist-on-the-list Breibart London
  11. "Breaking the chain: an interview with William Usher." http://apgnation.com/archives/2014/09/29/7694/breaking-the-chain-an-interview-with-william-usher. APG Nation
  12. Usher, William. "Destructoid, Allistair Pinsof and the Sour Side of Games Journalism. http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Destructoid-Allistair-Pinsof-Sour-Side-Games-Journalism-68039.html. Destructoid.
  13. http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/10/gamergate-destructoid-corruption-and-ruined-careers/
  14. Liebl, Lance. "Here's what we know: Allistair Pinsof, Destructoid, Yanier "Niero" Gonzalez, Game Journo Pros and more." http://www.gamezone.com/originals/here-s-what-we-know-allistair-pinsof-destructoid-yanier-niero-gonzalez-game-journo-pros-and-more. Gamezone.
  15. @WilliamUsherGB #GamerGate: FYI: Some of the unlisted #GameJournoPros: Leigh Alexander Patrick Klepek Matt Clark Russ Pitts
  16. An Updated Game Journo Pros List
  17. GameJournoPros who left/changed their job since the leak
  18. http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/addressing-allegations-of-collusion-among-gaming-journalists/
  19. Grant, Christopher. "On Gamergate: A Letter from the Editor." http://www.polygon.com/2014/10/17/6996601/on-gamergate-a-letter-from-the-editor. Polygon.
  20. Fudge, James. "Editorial: Truth about Gamergate and GameJournoPros." http://www.gamepolitics.com/2014/10/15/editorial-truth-about-gamergate-and-gamejournpros#.VE5vO_nF_E1. GamePolitics.
  21. Brightman, James. "Destructoid EIC quits over disagreement with management." http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-10-21-destructoid-eic-quits-over-disagreement-with-management GamesIndustry.biz
  22. http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/10/gamergate-cut-it-out-or-youre-not-welcome-here-orland-tells-gjp-member/