10 reasons why Reddit should be more journalist-friendly

reddit vs esports journalists 1

Journalist Dom Sacco gives his opinion on Reddit, following the news that the League of Legends subreddit will give ‘prominent community figures’ (players, coaches, owners and staff – but not journalists) verified flairs.
Reddit is one of the biggest news platforms and online communities in the world, and yet it doesn’t have the best relationship with content creators.
It’s well documented that esports host and journalist Richard Lewis is banned from the League of Legends subreddit (apparently for “sending brigades to cheat the vote system” and upvote his content, as well as “harassing” Reddit moderators).
As a journalist of 10+ years, I have a bit of a problem with Reddit. It’s supposed to be an open community, yet it has some of the strictest rules on journalists I’ve seen for a community site.
The League subreddit states: “Users must make nine non-personal submissions for every post containing content they own or from which they benefit in some way. If you post a video to /r/leagueoflegends and to /r/summonerschool, you need to make at least 18 comments.”

“I was banned from the Hearthstone subreddit last year for sharing two relevant competitive Hearthstone stories in the space of one month.”

While I don’t have a problem with that, it’s honestly pretty ridiculous to expect a professional journalist to share eight pieces of content from a rival site for every one of their own. What if it’s a huge story but they run a small independent publication like I do with Esports News UK? Does that mean it’s not a worthy story to share?
I was banned from the Hearthstone subreddit last year for sharing two relevant competitive Hearthstone stories in the space of one month. I received no warning, just an outright ban. I have tried messaging the mods to say I now understand the 9:1 rule but have yet to hear back from them.
Why can’t Reddit introduce a ‘journalist submission’ button, where journalists and pro content creators can share their own content? It could go into a separate filtering process for users to check out and decide on which stories they think should be upvoted. Journalists would have to send proof to Reddit mods to prove they’re a professional journalist or content creator.
Today the LoL subreddit announced it’s introducing flairs for ‘prominent community figures’ (players, coaches, owners and staff). This prompted a response from some leading esports journalists on Twitter, namely Jacob Wolf and Richard Lewis, who inferred that the subreddit is so closely tied to Riot, it will not be objective or fair enough with its spread of content.

This discussion inspired me to share my opinion.

10 reasons why Reddit should warm to journalists

As stated above, I’d love to see Reddit introduce a ‘journalist submission’ button, where journalists and pro content creators can share their own content for Reddit users to upvote or downvote. It could be capped at like one piece of content per day, which keeps the number of submissions down but allows the journalist to share what they feel is an important or big story, for example.
Here’s my reasons why I’d like to see this implemented:

1. More content

Simple – you’re going to get more of the good stuff, exclusive stories, fresh news, breaking pieces of information and interesting quotes from those connected to esports or a particular game.

2. Objectivity

There’s this strange sensation nowadays where people have more trust in YouTubers and content creators and orgs, despite some having some incredibly shady dealings (the CSGO Lotto scandal, fake hate-promoting videos from Joey Salads, that guy who lied about needing money and got found out, need I go on), yet won’t trust a journalist or a publication with a barge-pole.
Truth is, journalists are the only ones that will remain impartial and objective. Their job is to report the truth, not to represent a biased view or piece of fluffy PR content that is always positive or spun (unless they’re writing an opinion piece).

3. Collaboration drives creativity

It might be a cliche, but stuff is usually better when it’s done together. Look at the Panama Papers, things like Wikileaks and features or special reports produced by several people in a team – or from different teams.
Working together makes sense. Why do we even have this ‘them and us’ mentality on Reddit? Let’s put our differences aside and make some great stuff together.

“An org will always make lovely, flowery roster reveal videos, but they won’t always tell you when a player is leaving or if they’re involved in a scandal. A journalist will.”


4. Keep journalists in jobs

Journalism is in a state at the moment. Local newspaper journalists are losing their jobs left right and centre, national papers are always looking at ways to cut staff, and games magazines have all but disappeared.
There seems to be this ridiculous notion that journalists make a ton of money whenever one of their articles gets shared on Reddit. Trust me, that may be the case for some millionaire YouTubers, but it doesn’t work like that for journalists – especially those in low-paid staff roles. I don’t know of any journalists who get a bonus if their articles receive a certain number of hits – maybe some of the awful sites like The Daily Mail, but almost certainly not in games journalism (not in the UK anyway, that I know of). Everyone uses ad blocker nowadays anyway, there’s not as much money in display ads anymore.
If Reddit was friendlier towards journos and sites, and gave them a bit more traffic, this will help them to produce better content and hire more staff.

5. Encourage more investigative pieces

If Reddit opened up to publications and journalists more, this would give them the confidence to work on bigger pieces and spend time doing some good old fashioned journalism, because they know their piece would eventually get shared and read by more.

6. Stop subreddits from becoming flowery PR hubs

Restrict journalists on Reddit and you’re going to get more PR-friendly messages from teams, developers and other stakeholders who want to make as much money and grow their own businesses as possible.
You won’t always be able to tell the brilliance from the bullshit.
An org will always make lovely, flowery roster reveal videos – they won’t always tell you when a player is leaving or if they’re involved in a scandal. But a journalist will.

7. Better quality content

This one is just plain and simple. Have you seen some of the grammar and quality of writing on Reddit? Why not improve it with more journalists who have trained to master their writing technique and prose.

8. Those in power should be held accountable

Always. It’s for the good of the esports scene. Journalism makes companies work better, fairer and more transparent. Take that away and things are not going to be in a good way.
It’s getting so bad at a local newspaper level in the UK right now (you can thank Facebook, fake news and ad blockers for that), that in some counties there aren’t enough journalists to even attend council meetings.
We are literally telling councillors they are okay to get away with whatever they want. Don’t let esports and gaming go down the same road.

9. Halt the spread of ‘fake’ news

I’d like to think real journalists won’t be writing false stories, the kind you might see on Facebook which are designed to draw a specific reaction out of the reader.
Fake news does nothing but harm. Journalists must fact check and research thoroughly. Check out this NUJ code of conduct for some of the great things journalists are required to do. You might get the occasional click-baity headline, but nothing as bad as YouTube.

10. Richard Lewis.

Mods, just pull your head out of your arse and get that man back on the League of Legends subreddit. His work is important.
Finally, you may think this piece was pretty one-sided. Of course it was, I’m a journalist.

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