Introducing: Nice White Parents – Serial

Introducing: Nice White Parents — Serial

The New York Times Company has agreed to buy Serial Productions, the company behind the hit podcast “Serial,” The Times said on Wednesday, in the paper’s latest move to broaden its digital journalism.

Rachel Abrams for The New York Times

Two birds with one stone in this announcement: Interesting to see The New York Times put their bid in the podcast space. Rather than buying a preexisting podcast network, the Times has purchased a production company. This is also better than a service exclusively buying Serial produced podcasts, like Spotify with Joe Rogan. Serial now has better financial backing to make better and more shows that will be available as an open and available podcast.

Nice White Parents sounds right up the alley of Serial-style podcasts. Excited to listen to it when it airs on July 30.

Resignation Letter – Bari Weiss

Resignation Letter by Bari Weiss

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets. 

I’m no regular read of The New York Times: I had never heard of Bari Weiss before today. I became aware of this letter (ironically) through Twitter. Weiss’ words ring true with me though in the types of exchanges I see on social platforms more and more. I feel like this behavior and mentality happens consistently within the video game industry, its journalism aspect included. Outrage and dogpiling are regular events to observe.

Weiss’ letter is a far more eloquent, well-thought, and lived than my own writing. I did voice my own frustration last month in a post titled 280 Characters is Not Enough. The court of public opinion is operating with a “shoot first, never ask questions” mandate that is killing off all the principles I was taught while earning my own degree in journalism.

Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire – VICE

Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire: by Aaron Gordon for VICE

About 8 months ago, I got a handwritten letter through the mail on a blank piece of paper with one sentence: “File a FOIA with USPS for LLV truck fires.” 4,000 pages of documents later, here’s the story

Aaron Gordon via Twitter

This is some Deep Throat style reporting.

In 125 cases, the trucks were so thoroughly destroyed that the investigators were unable to identify a probable fire cause. Of the remaining 282 fires where investigators could identify a likely cause, the only pattern was that there was no pattern.

The fires occurred in hot and cold climates, at the beginning and ends of shifts, in the battery compartments, dashboards, and fuel pumps, and in vehicles that had both been recently maintained and were overdue for a check-up. They occurred on rural routes and city streets all over the country.

Although one engineering report found occasional lax maintenance practices that may have resulted in an increase in the number of fires, the most likely explanation for the fires is that the trucks are simply too old and are deteriorating on the road.

Besides being crazy, this story caught my attention because I personally know a mailperson. Ironic that the initial tip was sent using the USPS. It seems like it could have burst into flames before Gordon could have even read it.

What Nintendo Needs to do for the Switch to Succeed

It is an incredibly exciting time to be a gamer. Virtual reality is taking off and the market is in the golden years of two home systems with more powerful iterations out or on the horizon. What amps me up the most though, is impending launch of a new Nintendo console. Nintendo is where quite a few people cut their teeth on gaming and a new generation is gearing up. It’s hard not to be excited.

The Switch touts the ability to take home console game experiences on the go. The entire system is portable and playable on the go. The promise of playing the new, open-world Zelda game or a full-fledged 3D Mario adventure on the big screen or on the go is enticing. It is the fusion of Nintendo’s home and portable market.

nintendo_switch_1

Continue reading “What Nintendo Needs to do for the Switch to Succeed”

The Exclusivity Wall

Game exclusivity blows. Today’s Tomb Raider news at Xbox’s Gamescom press conference was the straw that broke the camel’s back. How is this fair to the consumer at all? It’s not. Corporate puppet masters are pulling strings to raise profits as they strip a product away from select audiences. They are punishing consumers for not owning their game box.

And yet, I am a hypocrite. I love exclusive titles. The Last Of Us is my favorite game of all time, which is exclusive to PlayStation products. As I think  about it, if Joel and Ellie made the jump to Xbox or PC, I would feel a tad betrayed. Then I realize that thousands more get to experience a game that moved my heart and soul. It is not fair that Xbox gamers can’t play The Last Of Us.

Right now, the Xbox One sales cower in the shadow of PS4 sales. PC gaming is as large as ever. None of this makes sense to me as a smart business move. Square Enix is actively cutting out 2/3 of it’s potential profit. Obviously, Microsoft is writing a huge check to Square, but is that number worth the unavoidable loss in sales. Kotaku has complied responses to this morning’s announcement; It’s no surprise that gamers feel cheated. Top notch artist, @Pandamusk, captures perfectly how the community feels at large right now.

Tomb Raider

There does seem to be some miscommunication about the exclusivity of the title. Official statements say “exclusive on Xbox for Holiday 2015.” Clearly, that leaves some hope for fans and gamers all around. This problem isn’t only about exclusive games. What about exclusive DLC or portions of gameplay? GameStop has even been discovered to try and secure exclusive chunks of final games, not just missions. Exclusive costumes, missions, characters, collectibles, and editions need to stop. Gamers are the most passionate fans I have ever encountered. We are die hards for the games. When companies strip our passions from us, it’s hard not to feel cut out. I’m a gamer too. If you’re reading this, you most likely are too. Exclusive content needs to stop.

The best way to prove this to the corporate puppet masters is to stop pre-ordering for exclusive content. As the consumer, we need to speak with our wallets. Petitions will not stop contract agreements. We hold the power within our hands. If we don’t buy it, companies won’t produce these exclusivity barriers. We can do it. Break down the walls of exclusivity and let’s help bring games to gamers.