The journalism industry, by and large, is built on the bonds forged between the various parties. Consider the words upon the page to be the efforts of a relay team’s anchor, carrying the hopes and dreams of those who had come before them.
Oftentimes, the teammate handing journalists the baton is a member of a PR company. Their task, of course, is to seek out potential outlets that might be interested in writing about one of the projects in their stable. This is as true in gaming as it was in the advertising industry.
The only difference is I don’t have to pretend I care about Roger Federer cooking a plate of fucking pasta in some shitty multimillion dollar ad campaign while I’m eating cans of tuna every night to survive living on minimum wage.
Having spent over four years as a member of Twinfinite’s staff, I became the recipient of dozens of daily emails promoting upcoming indie games, hot new pieces of tech, and the lineups for various eSports events.
This is all well and good, and it shows that the PR companies were doing their job, insomuch I, an alleged journalist, was delivered emails upon which I could consider journalising.
The issue, however, is the bold assumption that these brands would actually want me to write about their games. Allow me to offer you a sample of my headlines:
- I Entered a Pokemon Tournament and Now I Hate Everyone
- I Played Tokyo Mirage Sessions and Now I Am a Splendid Otaku God
- I Bought a Rare Pokemon Online and I Feel No Shame
- 5 Reasons Why I Would Like to Hold Raphael from Fire Emblem’s Hand (Consensually)
Did you notice the one word that appeared in every single one? It is, in fact, the word, “I”, as in, me. It’s a stark contrast to what the industry recommends, and I have callously thrown convention to the wind to best embrace my self-indulgence, even at the expense of a wider breadth of work.
“A good tip is to pick up any newspaper and see how stories are written,” a piece in the Guardian warns. “You’ll notice everything that third person voice [sic], as though the journalist is telling the reader about someone or something else.”
Meanwhile, I’m all up in here making statements such as “…what if I were to stride gaily into town with this large, muscular man by my side? The tongue-clacking would cease at once for fear that Raphael may snatch that lingua right from their mouth.”
I know what I am as a writer, I know what I offer. And yet, PR companies do not know the same.
To this day, I continue to receive well-intended emails, gushing about a myriad of projects. At first, I politely offered clarity, stating that I was no longer working with Twinfinite, and any potential articles I would be writing in future would be for EZIYODA.com.
With a link — the link is very important — to really illustrate the fact that this is a nothing website that nobody reads, littered with the word ‘fuck’ and interspersed with photos of my cats.
For the most part, they were courteous, advising that they would update their records, but should I still be keen on writing anything, to let them know. A wonderful result, and who knows? Maybe our goals will intersect someday down the track.
It was going pretty well, up until I received a reply containing the following message:
Would you like to review
Send from my iPad
For some reason, perhaps irrationally, this stuck in my craw. It made me feel insignificant; a means to an end, and not one worth dignifying with a proper response. It put things in perspective: to this dude, I am nothing more than a notch on his belt.
Alright then. Allow this to be the declaration of war. People have died for pettier reasons than this, after all.
To all who work in PR, I am strongly urging you to contemplate removing me from your mailing lists. I am aware that I am capable of doing this myself, but you know what? I’ve taken the time to open your email, now it’s your turn to do some research on your contacts.
If I ever get back to you with an affirmative response, be warned — the resultant piece will be disjointed, possibly even incoherent, and overstuffed with double entendres. I’m not really a gaming journalist anymore; I gave up that pursuit years ago when I saw that my skills did not align with those that were required for success.
I am a me journalist. I write about me. The day that EZIYODA becomes about anything else is the day that the endeavour loses whatever purpose it held in the first place (also potentially the day I sell out, I really hope it’s that because cocaine is super damned expensive).
Also, circling back to that pasta commercial, I was planting the seeds of self-indulgence even back then. Take your B2B tripe and shove it, you soulless ghouls.