During the GamerGate controversy in 2014 and 2015, gaming journalists had to manage a debate on two fronts: defending gaming journalism and remediating attacks on women. Gregory Perreault of Appalachian State University and Tim Vos of University of Missouri conducted interviews with 17 gaming journalists and analysed several published responses to criticism.
The authors conducted a discourse analysis on the responses to see how journalists saw their role during the scandal and how they performed a paradigm repair. A paradigm repair is a series of actions where journalists or news oganisations try to restore their own image and reputation by reaffirming their community and professional norms publicly.
The journalists repaired the paradigm in two ways, the article states. First, even though they operate within lifestyle journalism, they attached themselves to the ‘good’ traditional journalism: to professional journalistic organisations and to similarities of their work with traditional journalism.
Second, they adopted a paternal role, taking a moral stance. Journalists tried to explain the actions of a minority in the gaming community to a larger audiences. In some cases, they dismissed the ethical charges altogether, as many of the critical claims were found baseless.
The article “The GamerGate controversy and journalistic paradigm maintenance” was recently published in Journalism and is available online (free abstract).
Picture: Video game controller by Pawel Kadysz, license CC0