The Sword Cuts Both Ways - Suggestions to Grow eSports Journalism

Written by PhilPhoenix
Dec 02 2011, 10:55 AM EST

There’s been a lot of talk these past few weeks about a need for more sources of content that aren’t tied to major sponsors or organizations. The problem as many see it is that a large portion of the talent in our community is being snapped up by said sponsors and organization to provide them with their video/writing/personality services. This is all well and good; organizations like IGN and MLG need talented people to help them make their events great, but what it has resulted in is a dearth of people who are able to provide content from an objective perspective.

Of course we’re not actually without people capable of providing this content. We have the good folks at ESFI World busting their asses at every event to provide coverage and straight-up eSports news. We also have sources for more colorful pieces of content, such as WellPlayed (naturally). TeamLiquid is undoubtedly the premiere source of StarCraft writing, though their affiliation with their team makes it harder for them to be as objective as other sources.

The problem isn’t a lack of sources or willing participants, although admittedly the number of sources is lower than it should be. The problem is that without the connections or “star power” that come from being tied to a big organization or sponsor it’s very hard for a website to stand out and grow. I don’t think we lack the ability to create a visually pleasing site that puts out good consistent content, what we lack is people who actively and aggressively want more of it.

Setting aside the financial aspect of starting and growing a website, what’s necessary is exposure and support. Any project just starting off is going to have a hard time getting off the ground without some aggressive help from all the eSports communities. If this is something we want (which this thread assumes to be the case) then EVERYONE has a role to play. Let’s break it down:

1) The Fans: Our job is not only to visit the website and offer feedback, but also to actively promote content in every possible way. This includes twitter, facebook, reddit, and whatever other social media de jour you can think of. Far too often image memes and one-off jokes are occupying the top ten slots on r/starcraft, and that’s just not going to cut it. I’ve seen articles from a number of different sources be swallowed up and buried almost immediately, and even articles that make it to the front of the subreddit very rarely make it to the top of the page. Reddit is a very powerful tool for disseminating information, which leaves us with a choice. Do we want to continue to laugh about silly rage comics and images that we’ll forget about five seconds later, or do we want to promote quality content, not only spreading the word about that particular piece, but also helping to build an organizations reputation and increasing traffic in the future?

2) The Celebs: We need your help too! This is already happening somewhat; a player or personality will always retweet an interview or article they participated in. This isn’t enough though. Since the majority of you peruse Reddit and other content-driven websites (don’t deny it!), you’re reading the same things we should be reading. If you see something you like, shoot out a quick tweet! Just like us fans that should be spreading the love, your ability to get the word out far surpasses our own. Some are already doing this, which is a huge help, but if we can get even more top members of the community involved with this process, I think it would help these content producing websites gain a stronger footing within the community.

This isn’t going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight. It takes a long time for an independent website to reach a point where its traffic and influence make it self-sufficient. But if we’re serious about growing eSports (which I gather we are), this one way that we can have a direct impact on how the community shapes itself. Now I’m not asking for anyone to promote an article just because it’s an article. If it’s not good, don’t upvote it. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that though. We’re an enormously talented and driven community, so if we can work together on this, there’s no telling how far we can take it!