Note: You may all refer to my initial blog if you’re interested in my personal relevance to the discussion
Everyone in life has to answer to someone or something. Such an ambiguous statement is kind of a non-starter, but the aspect of providing content or a service in general illustrates this point as well as any other example in life; there’s also the issue of basic common sense that everyone likely understands with the following:
There are some that argue that eSports is still in its infancy, and thus our “media” sites are still unpolished, less than professional and subject to these issues. The truth of the matter is that eSports and the media is not in its infancy, but the majority of those with experience and that pioneered more professional content and standards are no longer in the industry; and those that are still around have fairly prominent positions in the community.
eSports never really provided stable and sustainable income for those that were around in the past, and those experienced people had to move on that couldn’t find a niche. This leaves incumbent websites and services with a rotating stock of young, inexperienced staff that have to learn the ropes and re-establish their lines of communication with many teams, organizations and players that have been around for a long time.
With a newcomer attached to providing content, or maybe looking for something exclusive to offer, they’re going to be far more liberal, far more favorable to whatever their cause or topic is; they want to leave a good impression and want that relationship with the party to grow in the future, and because most people instinctively know they won’t get their foot in the door with outright scandal as easily anymore.
Where in the past, you might have gotten away with approaching a player and baiting a few scathing statements from them, we’re a lot further along in our professional development, where media now has to go through team or organizational management to get approval, or you’re dealing with an experienced professional player that’s been around the block and knows the value of PR and what is expected of them from their own management.
This realization puts more things into perspective, but does it make it okay? ESFI does have a lot of newer, younger, and inexperienced members in their stable, but they also have their upper members that have been around awhile, and already have connections and relationships established. Severing those to cover stories as just an eSports media website, or write fluffy editorials isn’t worth it to them as a website. The issue comes with how they use this leverage, and I think people might be getting a little sidetracked at the entire issue.
Media in and of itself will never be without bias. Explaining more behind why would be exhaustive and truthfully, probably is understood by most people anyways. Where this entire escapade becomes an issue is when ESFI becomes just a site kowtowing to those they have connections with. If they’re actively promoting features, articles, and other content with those they’re closer with, and avoiding other notable stories and issues, then there will be problems.
This is highlighted with that ridiculous anonymous source that was seen in the story of Johan 'Naniwa' Lucchesi's move from Complexity to Quantic; people aren’t stupid, and they are likely to see the connection to a team, that probabilistically is from Complexity. Whether or not it is, doesn’t disregard the perception that it’s a personal jab at Lucchesi, from someone that’s bitter over something.
Given the other content that ESFI provides, and their general good-standing in the communities they serve, this is likely to go unpunished at this point and they’ll be given a mulligan. There will be a fine line however, because of the nature of eSports' viewers/fans. Now that this issue has come to light, and more people have been made aware, watch for more scrunity to follow other content that ESFI produces. If something like this happens again, ESFI is slowly going to start losing credibility and will find itself in a tight spot.