We are still waiting for confirmation about the status of the back-end work, but whether everything is settled or not, OnlySP resumes regular service tomorrow.

Around OnlySP

This past week was scarcely worth looking back on for us. We finished off our Most Anticipated list, and gave away a code for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier on our Facebook page, but our uncertainty about the status of the servers meant that I put a moratorium on the publication of any other content. Some of us have used this time to catch up on editing and prepare content for the days and weeks to come, so things should run smoothly for a little while, at least.

On Meryl Streep and Journalism

Early in the week, Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech criticising President Elect Trump made waves across both social and traditional media, being called powerful and emotional and many other such extravagant words. Perhaps it’s because I’m not American and find that situation almost farcical, but Streep’s words failed to move me. As a journalist, however, one thing she said did strike me: “We do need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for any outrage.”

That sentiment should be a part of the journalist’s mission. The profession is sometimes called the fourth estate, as an addition and counter to the three powers of church, nobility, and populace. Our job is not only to present news and opinions, but to find answers and call the establishments of power out when they are not upholding their position. That mission, however, is not carried out to its fullest extent. A part of that is the centralisation of the industry into only a few hands; here in Australia, for example, more than 90% of all media outlets are owned by either News Limited or Fairfax Media. Another part is the public relations industry. Of course, that profession has value in providing an avenue for companies and governments to directly interact with the general populace, but it also creates a buffer for journalists, making our mission far more difficult than it should be.

Politicians and corporate leaders are drilled by their PR agents on what to say and when to say it. Questions are evaded because of the need to stick to the party line, and those half-answers bring satisfaction to no-one. And that is on the rare occasions that we have the opportunity to talk to people who matter. Far more frequently, we have access to people who have no power and whose accountability only stretches to their minister or department head. Contemporary journalism is in a sorry state. As tangential as all of this may seem, it is relevant to the gaming industry.

We can get in touch with PR staff fairly easily and organise interviews with developers, but it is harder to access the people who make the real decisions. Phil Spencer may be active on Twitter, defending the cancellation of Scalebound, but direct access to him and the ability to grill him about the reasons for the cancellation, to find out what deadlines had been missed, and how far development had progressed, is impossible. Even were it not, his responses would more than likely be canned, dictated by PR staff in their job of extinguishing fires, ensuring a positive outward face, and mitigating any potential disasters.

You may hold us to account for not doing our job properly, but we are hampered by the machinations of vast corporations that have more resources than we do. Journalism is fun when it is easy, but when thinking about the roadblocks that prevent us from doing our job effectively, it is nothing but frustrating.

Personal Update

I have had a rather bland week, mostly spent waiting for time to pass. I finished up my review of Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema, which has now been submitted to LiNQ Journal. Because of its subject matter, the book has limited appeal, but it was, nonetheless, a very interesting read. In addition, I have continued reading A Passage to India, and that is most definitely a modernist novel, weighed down by the innovative attempts to capture realism that the modernists are known for. Finally, I have continued playing Nier and Planet Coaster, and I believe that I nearly have enough of an idea of the latter to prepare my review, so that should be up on the site fairly soon, I think.

How has your week been, single players?

Damien Lawardorn
Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

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