If it seems like the New York Times is the paper your grandmother reads because she doesn’t get the Internet, her VCR endlessly blinks 12:00, and if she’s heard of videogames at all, she equates them with Pong, there’s a reason why: the writers at the Times have a surprisingly similar mindset.
Jonathan Last explores how the New York Times covers videogames–in a word, badly:
This sort of thing drives me nuts because (a) the videogame industry isn’t that hard to cover and (b) it’s a big enough sector that it deserves semi-serious coverage of its business aspects. But here’s Joystiq on a NYT story:
First the Old Gray Lady says Gran Turismo 5 is “a hyper-realistic, high-speed journey, [and] is one of the best sellers for [the] Sony console.” One little problem, the game isn’t out yet. Next up they say the PlayStation 3 is $299, which would be awesome and perhaps the Times has some incredibly privileged info about Sony’s holiday strategy, but we’re pretty sure the system is going to be starting at $399 for a while. Oh, but they’re not done yet. Did you realize the PS3 and Xbox 360 are both powered by the Cell processor? This is being reported by the venerable New York-freakin’-Times, so it must be true, right?
Goodness knows there’s nothing wrong with making a mistake in writing a story. And maybe these errors were inserted by copyeditors and not the reporter. But these errors are so elementary that they suggest that the writer knows very little about the business and is just kind of parachuting in because someone assigned the story to him.
How hard would it be to have one guy on your business staff whose job was to keep half and eye on videogames while he went about his other beats?