Archive for the Thoughts & Ideas Category

Do eSports Journalists Exist? (Part I)

Journalist

Do eSports journalists exist?

That’s not a loaded question. I mean it like it sounds.

This is a subject I’ve had on mind the past few days as the latest string of eSports events in October has finally come to an end. It is undeniable how far the eSports scene has come this past year, and not just StarCraft 2. Yet, despite all our progress, I sit here wondering what can we do to improve eSports media? As I attempt to find an answer that question, I find myself continually asking another:

Do eSports journalists exist?

I’ve had a few laughs over this question before with my good friend Patrick “chobopeon” O’Neill, and it’s even a question he’s adopted as his own personal tagline: what the hell is an e-sports journalist?

But I’ve been giving it some serious thought recently and I think before we can even begin to answer that question, we have to come to a common understanding of what it means to be a “journalist” and what we understand to be “journalism.” This is, of course, no easy task as the advent of the internet, social media, and mobile devices has challenged our definitions of these traditional media concepts.

For the sake of the discussion I’m trying to make with regards to eSports I would like to deposit the following definition for a journalist:

A journalist is someone who investigates and reports on events, issues, and other important topics in a timely manner by producing unique narrative content through a multitude of mediums that can have subjective slants.

To fully understand the concept and reasoning behind my use of this definition, I feel it prudent to debunk several existing content producers from what I believe to be true eSports “journalists.”

Before I do so, let me first say just because I believe the following groups are not journalists does not mean the content they produce is inferior in any way. In fact, these groups of individuals are necessary within our scene in order to keep a consistent flow of content.

1) Individuals who posts links/news on Team Liquid, Reddit or any other community aggregator or forum is not a journalist. Yes, reporting is part of the definition I used of a journalist; however, these individuals does not investigate the content being produced nor does he present it in a unique narrative form.

2) Individuals who produce a weekly show are not journalists. They adhere to nearly every qualification I have for a journalist, however, they do not produce content in a timely matter. Rather, the content they produce is scheduled around a weekly broadcast, and as such, they can often produce content on a topic several days after the story has already occurred. Note, however, this does not exclude all show hosts from being journalists.

3) Most writers producing informational news on sites like ESFI (for which I am affiliated), Rakaka, Readmore, Fragster, etc. are not journalists. These individuals are often simply reporting on existing happenings without investigation, narrative form, or sometimes the opportunity of a subjective slant.

All of this, though, does not help to answer my original question: Do eSports journalists exist?

Continuing to adhere to my definition, I think the answer is yes, but it’s not as clear cut as I would like.

I do believe writers who produce coverage for events like MLG, IEM, Dreamhack, and IPL3 are journalists. They certainly investigate the information they are reporting, produce it in a timely manner, arrange it in some unique narrative (debated later), and some of the content has subjective slants.

I also believe writers who produce unique editorials and opinion columns are journalists – with less debate than the previous group who produces “event coverage” (more on that below). Finally, there are several other individuals – not just solely writers – who produce eSports content whom I think classify as eSports journalists.

I won’t go into an explanation for each individual I view as an eSports journalist as this post is already quite long in length, but they do conform to the definition I have accepted for eSports journalists. Ultimately, the problematic I have with viewing most current content producers as eSports journalists surrounds two major points within my definition of an eSports journalist:

  • A journalist investigates and reports in a timely manner
  • A journalist produces unique narrative content

The first point I think you’ll find straightforward. It’s the second point that I personally struggle with and I think our entire industry has yet to fully grasp: the concept of producing a unique narrative.

To fully explain why this is important to the definition of journalism requires two things: 1) we have a solid understanding of narrative and 2) we understand why unique narrative content is important to the definition of a journalist.

Given the length of this post, I’ve decided to break up this thought process into parts. I will be posting a least one more blog entry on this topic of eSports journalists to examine the two aforementioned issues.


I hope this exercise was meaningful for someone other than myself. I believe the definition of a journalist I have laid out above is quite good, but I am not sure it is complete. If you have have any questions or comments on this subject feel free to leave them below, email me (otteyt@gmail.com), or tweet me – I would love to hear what others think on this topic.


I’ve cross posted this blog entry on ESFI World.

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