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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 regarding writer collusion and journalistic integrity in the ongoing Gamergate controversy.[1][2]

The group's existence, and the veracity of the email leaks, have been verified by the group's creator, Ars Technica Senior Gaming Editor Kyle Orland.[3]

GameJournoPros, according to Orland in one of the leaks, was inspired by JournoList, a private Google Group consisting of several journalists and academics, the media exposure of which resulted in Washington Post reporter David Weigel's resignation.[4]

Initial CoverageEdit

GameJournoPros was first reported by Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who detailed an email conversation leaked by an anonymous GameJournoPros member.[5] Yiannopoulos later posted the full email conversation dump on his personal website.[6]

In these emails, Orland discussed ongoing controversy and harassment surrounding Kotaku Writer Nathan Grayson and game developer Zoe Quinn, suggesting that the group members use the controversy "as an excuse to give more attention to [Quinn's] work." Orland also suggested the group collaborate on a public letter of support for Quinn sign by "as many sympathetic journalists/developers" as possible. Polygon writer Ben Kuchera and GamePolitics editor James Fudge unsuccessfully attempted to convince The Escapist Editor-in Chief Greg Tito to censor the site's forum discussion regarding Quinn. A few of the group members dissented with Orland's suggestion, including Game Informer News Editor Mike Futter, who cited "professional distance" and recused himself from reaching "across the fence from journalist to subject."

In the following month, three other email conversations were leaked detailing the group's response to the initial leak,[7][8] the relationship between journalists and PR [9] and the group's closing shortly after the initial leak.[10]

Following the first email leak, the GameJournoPros member list[11] was leaked by one of its members, Cinema Blend writer William Usher. In an interview with APG Nation, 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."[12] Usher, writing for Cinema Blend, also discussed GameJournoPros role in blacklisting game developer and former Destructoid writer Allistair Pinsof. [13]

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.[14] Members of GameJournoPros weighed in when questioned by Yanier Gonzalez aka Niero, 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. Following Pinsof's sacking, 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."

Response from GameJournoPros MembersEdit

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 list's existence." [15]

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.[16]

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."[17]

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.[18] North did not specify GamerGate or GameJournoPros in his resignation.

MembersEdit

Some notable members included:

ReferencesEdit

  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. by Erik Kain
  2. Johnson, Eric. "Understanding the Jargon of Gamergate." http://recode.net/2014/10/10/understanding-the-jargon-of-gamergate/. Re/code. by Eric Johnson
  3. Orland, Kyle. "Addressing Allegations of Collusion Among Gaming Journalists." http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/addressing-allegations-of-collusion-among-gaming-journalists/. Ars Technica.
  4. Hagey, Keach. "David Weigel quits -- and a debate begins." http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/39025.html. Politico.
  5. 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.
  6. http://yiannopoulos.net/2014/09/19/gamejournopros-zoe-quinn-email-dump/
  7. 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.
  8. http://yiannopoulos.net/2014/09/22/new-gamejourno-pro-leak-the-email-summaries/,
  9. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/10/10/GameJournoPros-joking-about-paid-reviews-and-mocking-Phil-Fish
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. "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
  13. 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.
  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. http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/addressing-allegations-of-collusion-among-gaming-journalists/
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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

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