Thankfully, most real video game journalists have some viable experience and school training in the field, despite the fact that a great many continue to be pretenders.
But as time goes on and the industry continues to mature, the journalists should begin to mature as well. Game journalism will be seen as a more viable career field in universities, and those who have jobs in the industry will be more often viewed as professionals. It's inevitable and as I said, it has already started to happen. However, so long as anyone with rudimentary computer skills can open up a game-oriented website and call himself a "journalist," we're going to have adolescent-type issues.
And unfortunately, a lot of those people tend to be popular. We're very good at giving the stupid and the shocking a lot of undeserved attention (a truism that extends well beyond the gaming industry). So as long as people continue to give the cellar-dwelling "journalists" page hits, I fear we'll never really grow up. Then again, there's some hypocrisy in what I say because having written for newspapers, I know the way we run PSX Extreme isn't the way real journalists would run a newspaper.
And I've brought this to the forefront before; we require a community to survive, and communities are why people visit us and other sources. It's an interactive online magazine more than anything, which is why we will include subjective observation and opinion in various news pieces. We don't do it to cloud the issue nor do we ever steer away from the facts, but that opinion is necessary for the sake of the community and discussion. We interact with our readers and they expect that; they can see similar news articles just about anywhere. They're here for a specific reason, and we're hardly the only game website that operates in this fashion.
Furthermore, we're not really interested in getting all dry and stale. Honestly, that's what news often feels like because it's a cardinal sin of journalism to include opinion of any kind. And this is an entertainment venue, is it not? Shouldn't we be a little more laid-back? Or is that just a slap in the face in regards to the institution that is journalism? The question is, when the next generation rolls around and the industry grows more, will we finally start to see top-quality game journalists getting attention, and will those journalists stick to the old-fashioned rules?
It's a complicated situation. In some ways, I'm embarrassed; in others, I'm encouraged. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.