This friend of mine wanted to set up a site that covers esports. Not like LiquidDota, TLnet, or GosuGamers, sites that cover just the competitive side of esports. However, it wasn't to be a business site like Esports Insider or Esports Observer either, where they simply report on the latest sponsorships most of the time. It'd be more like a traditional magazine. Longer pieces. Think pieces. Well informed editorials. All stuff that gets my juices flowing. Or, normally gets my juices flowing. In this case, I expressed some skepticism.
When someone I know approaches me with a question regarding a project, I also (maybe wrongfully sometimes) assume they want some feedback. And when I thought about this idea I realized that it's something I'd read but it's something that would never work. In esports, written content isn't dead but it's not sustainable. Sites open and close every month. Grand promises of excellence at launch results in cut-backs and interns doing shitty clickbait reporting a year later. And that saddens me.
A while after I gave the feedback I realized that I didn't do a good job. Everyone can say something won't work but the true value comes when you give other solutions. And to me, it's obvious: you have to go down the video route. But that's hard as well. TheScore esports have probably done the best job of transitioning in video content and even their content is often very shallow and they half-ass the research. So I turned to traditional media and fired up the youtube channel of what, to me, still is the gold standard in reporting: The New York Times. They had some incredibly interesting pieces on there (which is why I'm writing this at 3:30am) but their production value is way above what this project would be able to do from the start. So I turned to some old VICE videos.
Now VICE has fallen, in terms of quality, over the last few years but I stumbled across this amazing mini-doc about Russian pilots in the Congo. It's a great example of actual journalism because this reporter doesn't fall into the hole of "hehe they're Russians, they're all drunks". No, she's there because she heard about something interesting and she keeps an open mind. This allows her to find a deeply compelling story about a group of hard-working men that risk their lives on a daily basis and she invites us to learn about their culture. For those of you who took the time to watch the video, look at the reporter's face at any given moment. There are times when she's scared, hesitant, or annoyed but throughout the whole ordeal she's still happy. Her demeanor tells the story of someone that's not there for fame or a big paycheck. She's there because she has a passion for finding these stories, and for inviting us along with her. This is a possible solution to the aforementioned problem.
After I finished the doc, I did what I normally do: I google the reporter to see what more of their work I can find. But I found nothing. Or next to nothing. A link to a facebook page. Checked it out in case she links her stories there, as most journalists do. Yup, that's her on the picture alright. But no stories posted. Only postings of apartments for rent? Turns out she's a real estate agent now, working for her grandmother's company. And while I know nothing of this person and why she went down this route, it saddened me. Here's a great storyteller who is now a real estate agent. I'm sorry to everyone in that industry but I doubt that's anyone's passion.
Maybe journalism is dying out? Maybe I should just start clicking on those youtube videos with lots of red circles and the 😱-emoji in the thumbnail? If so, I should also start clicking those "Top 5 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes" articles google keeps on recommending me cause I binged the show once, four years ago, when I was down and out with the flu. Maybe I can get the news through TikTok, somehow?