Ben Kuchera writing at The Penny Arcade Report about the state of video game journalism:
This system sucks, and many writers and editors involved with the system know it sucks. The writers who are often asked to create these stories know it sucks. You think you hate to read shit, imagine having to create shit that you know will do way more business than a well-researched and thought out story on a topic you’re passionate about. Now imagine making a pitiful amount of money for both stories. Is it any wonder so many talented writers leave the business?
We talked about talented, older developers leaving game development, but the same thing happens to reporters. Few sites have the money to offer writers a full-time position, and even fewer offer benefits. It’s incredibly hard to spend the years building up the contacts, expertise, and skill it takes to report a story well when there is no money in doing so, and it makes more business sense to simply re-write an existing story or go with that cosplay gallery.
It’s rare to get such a frank look at ad buys and the importance of clicks per article. It leaves you pretty cynical on the whole situation, which is why Ben’s suggestion of a business driven directly by reader subscriptions could make sense.