I had a knot in my stomach after reading this; while I knew this went on, it’s still not fun to hear about it laid out like this.
Of course, I’m jealous of things like trips to Vegas and Russia to promote a game, who wouldn’t be? But editorial policy at Ars Technica restricts us from accepting free airfare or accommodations though; it makes everyone involved look bad. Even if readers agree with what you say, it’s hard to argue how you say it isn’t affected by a nice flight, a good hotel, drinks, and food…none of which you paid for. There are lines of course. Everyone accepts review code for games, and I’m not going to turn down the occasional free drink at E3, but what’s described in the Washington Post article is excessive.
Here is what I would like to see from my fellow game journalists: if you feel like it’s ethical to accept these junkets, or if you think they honestly help your readers, great; but in order to make sure your readers have all the information, if your airfare or room was provided to you, simply say so in the article. That way it’s all above board, and everyone has the information about how the coverage was attained.
Yeah, any takers? Thanks Killzig through Meebo.