Length: First, the article, at 7,300 words(1), was too long. Actually, what made the article too long was the 6,100 words(1) of chat logs pasted into the article. To give some perspective, the word count of the first four posts of this series equals the number of words in the chat logs published in the EN24 article. I found my eyes glazing over and even reading the story multiple times I'm still not sure I have a firm grasp on everything discussed.
The solution is simple: divide the article into three parts. The first part would consist of the charges of Montolio dealing with Horus to get ISK with which to prosecute a war against the CFC. That is the part that is the most solid and, in retrospect, foreshadowed the recent HBC/CFC drama. The second part should have covered the allegations against Tribal Band and the links to Pandemic Legion. Of the three parts that is the weakest segment presented as many of the facts are still in dispute. The final part called for a thoughtful, well written editorial on the botting/RMT situation among the null sec power blocs and the changes that EN24 (i.e. riverini) would like to see made in CCP Sreegs' policies. Reasonable people can disagree with those policies and the resulting debate could have crept into the upcoming Council of Stellar Management election campaign as an important issue.
Timing: I find the timing of the publication of the exposé puzzling. Why publish the article on Sunday, 30 December? Having gone through all the work, why bury the story on the Sunday before New Year's? I understand that publishing the story on a Sunday gets everyone talking about and reading the story on Monday. But with so many people having the day off from work people might not even visit EN24 until Wednesday 2 January when the story was at the bottom of the first page. That timing just did not make sense to me.
Also puzzling is the publication of the story only four days, and two working days, after submitting the evidence to CCP. If EN24 chooses to criticize CCP for not acting on player tips, then EN24 has a responsibility to give Team Security an opportunity to look into charges. Only giving CCP four days to look into the allegations gave EN24's critics additional ammunition with which to attack the article. The day I think EN24 should have published the exposé is either 13 or 14 January.
Sloppy Editing: Another reason to push for a delay in publishing is that the article needed more editing. I'll just point out two instanced that affected the credibility of the article. The first is when the identification tags were shortened in one of the chat logs and the colons were missing after Montolio's name. This led to allegations that the logs were faked.
|Missing colons due to sloppy editing|
|A stealth edit to correct a mistake|
Stealth Edits/Deleting Comments: I realize that doing stealth edits and corrections is a common practice of many mainsteam media organizations. But I think if significant facts are changed in a story the new site should at least publicly acknowledge the error and make a note someplace in the article.
EN24 engaged in this practice in the example provided above. EN24 also came close to this when adding my information about leetcheese to the story. I would show a before-and-after shot of this stealth edit as well but I didn't start taking screenshots of the story until I noticed the mass deletions of comments concerning EN24 publishing the story only 4 days after submitting the logs. I am not a big fan of this practice. If something is wrong or embarrassing, own the mistake. This practice among mainstream media websites has led to a cottage industry that captures mistakes before they go down the memory hole. Do we need to start doing this with Eve news sites?
Check Sources/Links: When writing an investigative piece like this exposé readers have to rely trust that the reporters are giving good information. One way to gain that confidence is to provide accurate information on those facts a person can reasonably verify themselves. Providing misleading links is not the way to go about winning trust. For instance, Eve News 24 has published an interview with CCP Sreegs on the subject of holding alliances responsible for ISK selling operations conducted by its leadership or large-scale operations conducted by members. But a link purporting to link to CCP Sreegs' words instead linked to a presentation by CCP Stillman. Is it because the interview with CCP Sreegs contradicts some of the assumptions made in the conclusion? If so, this type of misleading fosters distrust in the reporters, which is the last thing an investigative report needs.
Conclusion: Many people dismiss Eve News 24 as a poorly written news site that has to rely on syndicated blogs for content. I think this botting exposé had the potential to show what Eve News 24 could do as it tackled a subject almost entirely ignored by the more upscale The Mittani -dot- com. But I believe that some bad editing and other editorial choices got in the way of a potentially good story.
(1) - As determined by copying the article into Microsoft Word.