Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The "Elite" EVE Media

The genesis of this post comes from Dirk MacGirk and his continued ranting on EVE Radio over the three part CZ Minutes feature that ran on Crossing Zebras 8-10 June.  The head editors of Crossing Zebras, The Mittani.com and EVE News 24 came together and produced an 18,000 word epic on the subject of EVE media.  I think Dirk, himself a contributor to EVE News 24, is a little taken aback at their assumption of superiority over the bloggers, forum posters, and EVE Radio that was conveyed in the articles.  While the term "elite" was never mentioned, Xander Phoena, the man in charge of Crossing Zebras, did use the term "Eve media triumvirate" in part 2 and TMC editor-in-chief Tegiminis referenced "the big three" in the final installment.

Personally, I'm not bothered by such talk coming from any of those sites.  Then again, my opinion is possibly influenced by the fact that I was once syndicated on EVE News 24 and wrote 2 articles for TMC.  But think about the situation.  Why shouldn't those sites have great content?  More importantly, why shouldn't the editors-in-chief and those who run the sites not only think they put out superior content, but expect that level of writing from their staffs?

Staffs.  That's important.  How is any individual blogger going to produce work comparable to what a site with a staff of writers with editor support can produce?  A blogger can outperform in a narrow niche, but across the wide range of topics we see on those three sites?  If the sites are competently run, not a chance.  Aside from people like Ripard Teg and Sugar Kyle, most bloggers will only produce a maximum of one post a day, and only 5 days a week.  A features writer on TMC or Crossing Zebras has seven days to work on a piece, which means that much more time to research an article than a blogger typically possesses.

But why would a blogger go up against the strengths of these news sites.  Instead, why not go after where sites like these are weak?  In my opinion, I see three weaknesses.  The first is follow-up.  These sites, especially EN24 and TMC, have the resources to regularly get to the story first.  But I rarely see any follow-up.  A blogger can make a living on that.  Some may even say I make a living on that, or could if I monetized the blog (ugh!).  Going back and looking at a situation two or three months after the fact is old news for the big sites, but oftentimes holds interesting stories.

The second is the desire for hits.  Sites that rely on advertising revenue (which excludes Crossing Zebras) will favor sensational stories (i.e. click bait), some developing stories will fall through the cracks until the stories explode.  But if a blogger can identify the story and become an expert, that blogger can write better quality posts than "the big three" when the story finally explodes.

The third is the way that writers are paid.  They are paid by the piece.  The more articles a writer produces, the more ISK in his or her wallet.  Even with editors in place, that leads to holes in stories that bloggers can fill in.

I don't see the emergence of two or three main sites in EVE as a bad thing.  Instead, I see the situation as an opportunity.  So to anyone thinking of EVE blogging, jump on in, the timing is pretty good.


20 comments:

  1. I have to ask, why do I care if they think themselves something? I'm not a journalist and if I ever thought about it my interaction with Eve media nipped it in the bud. My blog is my personal place where others can come and visit and have tea. I'm not in competition with anyone. I'm not there to break stories or scream to be looked at because I have the so called news I've decided is important.

    The closest I come to reporting is when I go to Events and try to take as detailed notes as I can of Q&As so that I can share it with others. Not share 'what I thought was important' with them.

    But this is why I will always be 'just' a blogger and have people tell me that blogging is dead every few months when they storm off to a news site.

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    1. +1 to this.

      We blog at BWF on stuff we find interesting, and if someone else likes it, cool. We're not in competition with anyone or trying to be impressive or whatever.

      I'm sure more than half of what I post is a total snooze to most people, but it was what I wanted to talk about at the time.

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    2. Ditto... I don't blog for attention or to feel important, I blog about what interests me and to help others.

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    3. I read each of your blogs for precisely the same reasons you cite.

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  2. That series was a lot more navel gazing than I could manage, and I speak as somebody who writes one of the most introverted MMO blogs around.

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    1. I have pictures of sheep grazing across the belly button.

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    2. Hey, whatever version of Rule 34 floats your boat... but keep those pictures to yourself. *grin*

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    3. :-D

      I'm sure the pod journal reality would be more hilarious than anything I could imagine on my own.

      Delete
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  4. Nozy, I just want to come forward and say that as the owner of EN24, I found myself extremely displeased by the self-serving nature and content of this series of articles.

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  5. It's just one of the endless ways that mittens and friends warp the EVE landscape. It's a non-stop mind game with an end goal of making their sites even stronger, getting more clicks, and making more money (they're way past ISK and e-fame). If the bloggers got organized into a single outlet, rather than an endless sea of random pages, you'd probably get more clicks and more credit for the work you do.

    You guys are like the meatier parts of Washington Post and NY Times. They're like CNN at their best and like TMZ at their worst. Their articles boil down to 4 things: repeating CCP information updates (e.g., dev blog releases), AARs/ALODs (usually propagandist and rarely providing more than what you could glean from a killmail report), reposts of blogs or articles based on information already running around on the blogs, and, in the case of EN24, thinly veiled paid promotional articles. Every so often one or the other will provide some sort of actual analysis article.

    If you guys had a single landing page, I bet you'd quickly eclipse the hits the other two get.

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  6. As an avid consumer (not a producer) of EVE meta-content, I have to admit: I rarely read articles on TMC or CZ and almost never on EN24. That’s partly because I have to click through the damn link in my RSS reader (by design, of course), which I find infuriating.

    I also just prefer EVE blogs. I feel like I get a much more varied range of perspectives and ideas. And, like you said about follow-up, bloggers tend to iterate on a few topics that they care most about. Sometimes that can get a little tedious, but over time it leads to more interesting depth and detail than I’ve ever found on any those “big three” websites.

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    1. I agree, those sites keep getting filtered off my bookmarked favorites.
      (every once in a while, something will lead me to one of those sites and I will bookmark it (again) in the hope of it being interesting). After a week or two, it gets moved down the list of marks and then gets punted.

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    2. I also prefer blogs over news sites. I read your blog regularly and never bother with TMC nor EN24.

      All articles are biased, but, a blog rarely makes pretensions to deny it and does not skew articles deliberately as part of the metagame.

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  7. CZ is nothing but a blog. That whole circle jerk was Xander's attempt to put himself on the same level as TMC and EN24, and to get people to think of CZ in that same frame of reference.

    Was Xander successful? Maybe. You're now talking about CZ as though they're at the same level of popularity as TMC and EN24.

    CZ doesn't get even a twentieth of the page views of either of those sites. CZ doesn't report news. CZ doesn't do anything that blogs don't do. CZ doesn't generate anywhere near the level of commentary as TMC or EN24.

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  8. The old adage that it's more interesting to read about EVE Online than it is to play it might be fading. A reduction in the number of various points of view online is making just as uninteresting to read about as it is to play.

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  9. All forms of content are important to the community. None rise above the others. The fact we have so many who contribute is what is important.

    For the record, I wasn't "ranting" so much as mocking the audacity of those who consider themselves above the others contributors simply because they've decided they are "professionals". That they are, or should be, held to some higher standard as though they were actual journalists. EVE is a wonderful game with a great many stories to tell. I just wouldn't take it so far as to consider any of it "news".

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  10. I don't read EN24 at all, I get links to podcasts on CZ's and some of those I'll listen to, and TMC as far as I'm concerned exists for the one article they write every 2-3 months that really drills down into game mechanics.

    But I read a lot of blogs. The largest reason for that is blog series and comments. Bloggers really explore an idea over a series of posts stretched out over a few days or weeks with feedback generated from comments. And the comments are just better. Full stop.

    The result is blogs feel like a conversation. Even if I don't engage in the conversation, it still retains that dynamic. The "elite" media seems like nothing of the sort. Their output feels like a class, complete with people in the back of the class hitting the kid who got up to give his presentation with spit wads and everyone else sitting there glassy eyed with day dreaming about their "sexy" topic.

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