Another Learning Experience in Games Journalism

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Another Learning Experience in Games Journalism

Hi, I’m Kevin McMinn. I’m the owner of Nintendo News and the person behind the site’s social media accounts — Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. On Friday, I made a bad decision by posting an inappropriate Tweet, and I’d like to explain how that has affected me and how it has ultimately made me rethink how Nintendo News will report information going forward.

First I would like to explain the Tweet. At 11:24 a.m. ET on Friday, February 26, following the Pokémon Direct, I Tweeted this:

“We can confirm that @NintendoAmerica has a rat within its ranks, and we don’t like that. Please terminate the employee leaking information.”

“Holy moly, man. Why’d you do that?!”

Yeah, it was irresponsible, and I’ve been made very well aware of that by many people. But I’m glad I made that mistake — I’ve learned a thing or two. But more on that in a few.

Without going into too much detail, a confirmed Nintendo source leaked confidential company information for Nintendo NX launch plans, Nintendo of America’s detailed marketing budget for 2016, and the planned release schedule for Nintendo 3DS games through holiday 2016. And all of that info was posted to the NeoGAF gaming community by member Trevelyan9999 three days before the Pokémon Direct. Days before it even hit NeoGAF, the same user posted the info to his YouTube channel called SuperMetaldave64. Many of you thought I published that Tweet due to being upset about the Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon trademark applications that surfaced prior to the Direct, but that wasn’t the case at all. Heck, we even reported the trademark information.

“Wow, some Nintendo fan site you are! Shouldn’t you be bloodthirsty for juicy Nintendo rumors and leaks like everyone else? Pfffff! How ironic of you!?”

It’s not fair for anyone to be upset at Trevelyan9999 for publicly posting leaked information he received from a Nintendo source. For the record, I was never upset at the guy. I found everything he posted to be interesting, but ultimately decided to pass it up because I never heard of the person before, nor was I familiar with any other leaks from him. What upset me about the whole thing was the fact that confidential company information was being leaked from Nintendo into the public. It just seems like really bad business, albeit beyond Nintendo’s control, and I still don’t understand why an employee — from any company — would share that caliber of information to an outsider. Regardless, whatever happens within Nintendo’s walls is none of my business.

“Anyway, what’s your point? How does this affect me, and why should I keep reading this?”

Well, a few hours after I posted that Tweet, I realized how bad it turned out. And yes, looking back at it, I ultimately regret posting it — even though I said I didn’t. Not only was the Tweet worded poorly, but wanting someone to lose their job over leaked video game information is unfair. And, to be quite honest, it’s pretty silly.

That’s when I asked VentureBeat journalist Jeff Grubb for some guidance. Our private conversation was pretty detailed, but in a nutshell, he gave me the following advice — the same advice that was once given to him by Dan “Shoe” Hsu, former editor-in-chief of the magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly:

“Remember that you are writing for the reader — not to the companies you cover or anything else.”

Grubb also provided me with some guidelines that made me realize we (Nintendo News) should cover more stories, including ones that Nintendo doesn’t want us to cover. And that’s pretty much when everything hit me.

Sure, Nintendo News has covered rumors and leaked information for topics related to Super Smash Bros., Splatoon, and Pokémon ahead of official announcements, and we’ll continue to do so. However, ever since that huge Nintendo Fusion rumor from January 2014, as featured on Kotaku, we’ve backed off quite a bit and have become more conservative. But we’re not going to hold back anymore.

We’re an independent publication not controlled by any corporation or organization, which means we’ll be publishing more stories related to rumors and leaks from credible sources who provide us, or others, with information we deem justifiably newsworthy. Simply put, we’re no longer a “free marketing publication” for Nintendo. We’ll continue publishing our normal stuff, but we’re going to start publishing the stuff our readers want to know about. Because we can. If Nintendo has a leaker in their outfit, that’s their concern and it will no longer affect us — we’re not their legal department, so we’re not going to act like we are.

I didn’t enjoy writing this, but I’m glad I did; right or wrong, it allows me to document my trials and tribulations as a young journalist. One thing I know for sure is this: You won’t see anyone representing the Nintendo News publication on social media with hasty, unprofessional Tweets anymore — we’ll stick to the news. And rumors. And leaks. Simply put, Nintendo News will no longer withhold certain types of information.

If you’d like to tell me how bad of a person I am, or how much you hate Nintendo News, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Tips, rumors, or leaks? Send them to us. In the meantime, I’m going back to playing Pokémon Yellow.

Thank you for reading.

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Kevin’s a snobby (but classy) tea extraordinaire, seasoned sushi connoisseur, and cold weather lover. He also likes Pokémon, exploring Japan, and has perfected the art of making the perfect matcha.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, Kevin.

    I’m glad you were able to talk to someone for advice about it. There’s a lot of arguments over how much a game journalist should actually be a journalist, but in these cases I think it’s important for places like Nintendo News to publish what serves their readers. You’re not owned by any game company or PR firm. You’re your own entity.

    Glad to see you come to this conclusion. Best of luck to you and Nintendo News.

    • Hello Oculin,

      My apologies for the late response. Thanks for your understanding and kind words. It’s nice to know a fellow journalist feels the same way as I do. Have a great week. :)

  2. Wow! I totally missed everything that led to this… lol. Thanks, Kevin, for sharing your learning experience though. I can see why you would want to protect Nintendo. They’re a great company with great products but they are in a vulnerable state right now. Leaked information could potentially jeopardize what they need to do to compete with Sony and Microsoft. At the same time, I don’t think Nintendo cares for NN in the same way. Do what you gotta do when it comes to reporting Nintendo news items, but, I have to say that I have always respected Nintendo News’ stance on only reporting on facts and potential facts. I know, potential facts sounds like rumors, but, to me, there is a difference. Thanks for what you do. Keep up the great work and the learning experiences Kevin!

    • Hi neoprime33,

      “At the same time, I don’t think Nintendo cares for NN in the same way.”

      BINGO! You pretty much nailed it. Thanks for the very kind words, man. I appreciate it. Hope you have a great week. :)

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