I’m glad Paul brought up the right to and importance of the minority opinion, especially if it’s true that the entire staff shared Meghan’s view of the game. In this way journalistic integrity has remained intact. Yet there are plenty of basic principles of journalism that imply a duty to the reader, especially the paying reader. This doesn’t mean one has to write a review that every reader will like. But it means that somebody, probably an editor, should be able to tell when the reading community is going to raise some flags on a review.
Some things could have been done to prevent such a backlash. If the entire staff has a negative opinion of a highly-anticipated game receiving positive reviews from most sources, then one of the more recognized writers should be given the task of delivering the bad news to readers. Next, hiding behind the need to constrain the length of a review because of page space in the print edition is either misleading or just plain not well-thought-out.
One of the gifts from the Internet to journalists is an abundance of space. If a reviewer has the time to play an entire video game, then they have time to expand a print capsule review to something more fully conceived for the website. It’s not like reviewers needs to do extensive info visualization or fact-checking to extend their web content (like news media outlets have to); pretty much a fully fleshed-out page of the notes Meghan took while playing the game would have sufficed.
Alberto Cairo (and even the super-lame Journalism 2.0 by Mark Briggs) is fairly good source material for teaching newer journalists how to expand print content for a web audience. Thanks for reading. I love your magazine, and this review and its backlash are a mess you guys really don’t deserve.