The video games media space is incredibly crowded, the high profile closings of such publications as GamePro notwithstanding. Almost everyone with access to a server and an ad revenue generator can claim to be a “video game website” these days. And many of them generate content off the backs of unpaid “volunteers”, often with little to no experience. This isn’t always a bad thing, since it is good to have a space where one can hone a craft and create some basic clips to get started.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that such a thing compromises the quality and ethical rigor of journalism, even for such a light subject matter as video games.
Enter The Gaming Vault. Recently, the “Editor-In-Chief” of the site, one Kyle Gaddo, held an interview with the recently notorious and meme-worthy, Paul Christoforo. It’s a long tale of bad behavior and Internet retribution that is better recounted elsewhere. However, while someone being so vilified as Paul does deserve an opportunity to relay his own side of the story, it is not the interviewing journalist’s responsibility to provide a public defense for his subject.
Kyle Gaddo goes out of his way with leading phrases, providing the excuse of “having a bad day” more than once. He provides lengthy analogies to extend the interviewee’s explanation beyond the need for clarification, and he repeatedly lacks any followup to the interviewee’s assertions of fact that were openings for clarification (showing a lack of research prior to the interview). The dissection isn’t important since the owner of the site responded to some of my criticisms with:
I’ve been talking to Kyle personally since the interview, and he completely agrees with my own personal observation that he was editorialising way too much for an interview. That should definitely be saved for an article.
Fine, it’s an admission that the interview was beyond one-sided, and really, it was an editorial hit piece on behalf of the subject. It would have ended there, but this same owner and “Senior Editor” named Michael O’Connor, had been sprinkling derisive comments throughout the thread in reference to those who disagreed with both the handling of the interview and Christoforo’s side of the story. He even went so far as to call out some of the readers with:
I have been in this industry long enough to know just how short lived gamers’ petty vendettas are.
And this is just one more of them. A petty, basement dwelling lynch mob with nothing better to do with their time.
He pretty much lashes out like Paul Christoforo himself. Hilariously, like Paul, he attempts to puff out his chest with imaginary gravitas by implying he’s an “industry” veteran. Something his LinkedIn profile belies.
This immediately led to a number of responses pointing out the irony. I also commented since prior to that quote (I was unable to save it) he stated that he stood by his web site’s credibility. I basically asked him about his revenue stream via Google AdSense and why his site, around for several years now, did not employ any paid professionals, and why his Editor-In-Chief (the interviewer) was some inexperienced kid (who had compromised the integrity of the publication). I also didn’t think it was appropriate for him to go ad hominem on his core audience.
Lo and behold, his comment and the responses vanished. A number of his other derisive comments also vanished. When a reader called him out on it, that response vanished.
And my own response:
I’m glad to read that Kyle realizes that he made a mistake. However, I am concerned as to the removal of certain incendiary comments made by yourself from this thread. If you regret your words, fine. You can apologize, clarify, or even double-down. But changing history like that is on your own website also does not speak favorably towards your credibility.
Also, you seemed to have deleted a reply to you on this same thread that references other deletions. This really does not speak well for you and your site.
It vanished as well. I imagine this is what it must be like to have an Internet ‘access’ in a somewhat totalitarian dystopia … your words being shot down as they are set free.
In any case, a saved a couple of screenshots before the responses could be deleted.
Enjoy your Google advertising revenue, Mr. O’Connor, but a media outlet run in such a shoddy manner will pretty much remain what it is: a hobby site for amateurs.