interesting article on Kotaku, featuring a document by the Federal Trade Commission that calls out bloggers (and gaming bloggers, actually) on their right to review gaming products.
In particular the document in question insinuates that bloggers (making no mention of actual paper-bound journalists) would be affected in their judgement by receiving freebies by developers in the form of review material and similar swag.
The New York Times has been quite qick (maybe even too quick) in receiving the pass from the FTC, with a feature article (and no, the writer of the Classy Mommy blog mentioned in the article is not my mom :D I can only wish that my mother would be tech-savy enough to have her own blog...) in which such accusations are amplified and elaborated, of course insinuating the idea that paper-bound "professional" journalists would not suffer from such a bias.
This, to be honest, sounds to me like a desperate lobby action coming from the world of "professional" journalism to try and face the crisis that blogging has brought in the last few years.
Gaming magazines closing due to lack of readers are an almost daily matter. Even the last magazine i wrote for myself had to close due to the competition of the internet.
With everyone being able to create information (or misinformation, exactly like actual journalists do quite often) due to the creative freedom granted by the Internet, the conventional press has faced several moments of jeopardy, as a bigger and bigger part of the audience stopped buying magazines to simply read the much more accessible and free news on websites and blogs. Looks like the world of journalism is finally starting to panic.
The most funny part of this whole thing is that the accusations of what basically is (removing all the frills and decorations) accepting bribes, come from the world of paper-bound journalism.
It's well known that bloggers and web editors DO receive review products and swag. is it a problem? I wouldn't say so.
Personally , the last time i received such regalia, was, surprise surprise, when I was writing for a paper magazine. Yes, because, of course, the ones that receive the largest slice of the cake are the "professional" paper-bound journalists. And yes, this underground "give and take" goes on on paper magazines quite a lot more than on the blogosphere.
Exclusive previews given in exchange of covers and high review scores, invitations to parties and events, free giveaways of quite costly products... Gaming (and not just gaming, it works for every kind of media or product-related magazines) journalists have enjoyed this kind of "advantages" on a widespread fashion since before the term "blog" was even coined.
It's quite laughable to uphold the idea that bloggers are swayed but this kind of trade, while "professional" journalists aren't.
Many writers are, many are just a bit, very, very few aren't. Regardless the kind of media they write on.
Honestly, I AM biased. What creates such a bias (in me and in everyone else that picks up a keyboard and writes), are my own opinions, not any kind of gifts (unless you consider a a game that gives me quite a lot of fun being a gift, but that would be beyond the point, given the fact that I pay for them).
In the end it's the reader's responsibility to make for himself an informed opinion on a product based on multiple sources and ultimately personal experience. The more the time goes on, the more the differences between paper-bound journalism and blogging tend to disappear. Developers giving away swag and gifts to bloggers more and more is just another sign of that, and of the fact that the privileges enjoyed by the press aren't exclusive anymore.
The audience is moving more and more towards the digital domain, and so are developers, that view bloggers more and more as the true opinion leaders.
Instead of panicking and genrating this kind of aberrant accusations, paper-bound journalists should concentrate on raising the (even too often extremely low) quality of their articles, since they can't compete on the pricetag.