About that Slasher drama
Posted 2013-02-09 Lexx
It all started back in 2001 (I think), when I was writing basic news for a local e-sport website called Cybersport.lv. I actually think back then my position was in fact Editor in Chief, but that was far from anything I do now. It wasn't until late 2004, when I started my own website, Frag.lv, that I've realised what news outlet should do.
We were not afraid to report things as they are, and this of course affected our relationships with event organisers and even some teams. People respect you when you go out and tell the truth. This is what reporter should do. There are too few websites that are not afraid to spill the truth.
I have gone even further with my next website, Coverage.su (later renamed to GamesWorld, Place2Play). Whenever we found something out – we would report it. Player transfer, rumors, everything. We have always tried our best to reach out to people and teams that we were reporting on for official statements, but most of the times they were just pissed at us for reporting it too early. We were open to work with teams and event organisers if they wanted us to, but we have always warned them about the way we work. It was their job to keep their business away from leaks. It was our job to report whatever happens in the e-Sport world. When we sold Coverage.su to a large Russian publishing house, 7Dney, they were often mad at us for ruining relationships with potential partners by the way we worked. We have spent a fair deal of time arguing with the management, that they should not interfere with our work.
So to sum it all up, my position is quite simple. If you get some information, you should not be afraid to release it. It's your job to do proper research, let the involved parties have their say on the situation, and bring the information to the public. You should never be afraid to ruin a potential partnership by reporting the truth. You should not allow yourself to be bullied by some team, which would probably tell you that their players will never give you an interview if you leak some stuff. It's their loss, not yours. You should not be afraid to say that ESWC 2012 was a failure, but do your best to state the facts and stay objective. ESWC should not ban you for that, instead they should do a better job next time. I've heard that some leagues were threatening teams that if they go public with a statement about the prize money they owed, they will not receive that money at all. This is just plain absurd and stupid.
Overall I find this whole Evil Geniuses/Slasher drama pretty amusing. Fortunately we have Rakaka who spill the beans all the time. Otherwise we'd be living in a pretty boring world. Another reason why I find this whole situation hilarious is because of my past. I've been doing the same thing for years, and people were mostly cool about it. Everyone except for Virtus.Pro I guess. Those guys still hate me ^_^.
I support what Rod did. Now let's move to the other side.
Before joining Fnatic, I had zero experience in working for a team. I've spent 10-11 years working for news outlets, and half of that time I was working for myself. It was a big change for me. I have already explained how I started doing things differently in 2012, when Fnatic.com focused only on its team, and stopped trying to be anything else than that. This year, after launching the new Fnatic.com, we are covering major scene news, but still doing our best to keep the balance in favor of our team.
Working for a team is a big change from what you're used to do. You can't go 100% neutral on things, you have to respect your team and do what's best for it. I think we've made around 20 player transfers in 2012, some of those were leaked. Were we upset? Of course! Is there someone to blame for that except for ourselves? No.
These are many ways how these leaks happen. Players are the ones who are leaking most of the stuff. They talk about confidential things with their friends, and those friends pass on information to their friends, etc. They start playing with a new team tag before official announcements, edit their profiles in leagues, you name it. It's really rare when someone from the management is actually leaking this stuff.
We've had most failures with the CS team this year, there were just too many transfers going on all the time. This is why around 30% of the time we were announcing new players, people already knew that. Yet there wasn't a single time when a news outlet reached out to us for confirmation on the rumors circulating around players or the team itself. And this is just not right. This is not how things should be done. It's actually the same for all the other games that we are supporting.
So judging from my current position, I can understand why Alex Garfield was upset with what Rod Breslau did, but it's EG's fault that this has happened in the first place. Rod was just doing his job. It's really hard to keep secrets in the e-Sport community, but if you bet so much on one player announcement, you better do one hell of a job of keeping it under wraps.
I also think that what they did with the announcement of League of Legends team (not that weird clip, the GameSpot feature) was the best thing that can come out of a partnership that both sides appreciate. Exclusives are cool.
So, to sum it all up, here's the TL;DR version of what I just wrote.
I believe in free press. I believe that news outlets should remain neutral, independent and actually do their job. Their job is to inform their readers. It's great when you have something exclusive to report. This is what helps you to build solid reputation, this is what makes your name prominent and respected among others. Don't be afraid, do what you have to do, but please – don't forget to reach out for official statements when it's needed.
I believe teams should not be blaming anyone for their own faults. With these two things combined we'll get a better environment. And hey, it's fun when these things happen, and not only because of the over-obsessive reddit community.