Who among us does not like the bitch about their least favorite journalists, or reporting that we find disagreeable? Indeed, we Americans are all armchair media critics at heart. That's generally a healthy thing in a democracy, but how often do we step back and appreciate those who provide us with in-depth reporting and journalistic excellence? Not enough, I dare say. Perhaps my early pursuit of a career in journalism and a college degree in the subject has left me more sensitive to this, but I think it is important on occasion to send out a big "thank you" to those whose investigative reporting -- especially on niche subjects -- contributes greatly to societal knowledge and a better understanding of important issues.
In the case of journalist Dennis McCauley, long-time editor of Game Politics.com, I wish I would have gotten around to thanking him publicly sooner, because he has just announced his departure from Game Politics and the journalism profession in general. That's a shame because Dennis was a trailblazer in a field that desperately needed attention from serious journalists. Until Dennis came on the beat, no wait, strike that... until Dennis created the beat, most journalists just didn't bother taking a serious look at "where politics and video games collide," which is the motto of Game Politics.com (which is now part of the Entertainment Consumers Association). Before Dennis, most journalists looked a video games as a "kiddie" thing, and to the extent they reported on developments in this field at all, their stories where typically relegated to the back pages of most papers or magazines. And there wasn't much serious reporting by online sources either.
Dennis changed all that by taking a hard-nosed look at developments in this sector from multiple perspectives -- the business side of video games, legal and political developments and perspectives, the consumer view on things, and so on. For those of us who closely monitor developments in this sector -- especially legal developments -- Game Politics quickly became must-reading each day. It was, and remains, an indispensable resource.
Importantly, Dennis also kept editorializing to a minimum and stuck to reporting the facts first, only injecting opinions as an afterthought. Although Dennis clearly loved the world of gaming as much as his readers, he always went out of his way to report all sides of the story, sometimes causing grief for game companies, developers, and even players because he did not shy away from asking tough questions of all of them. That's the hallmark of a great journalist.
Finally, and perhaps most amazingly, Dennis offered the world all this information, investigative reporting, and analysis at no cost. I hope that's not what drove him out of the field!
I do hope Game Politics continues on and remains strong, but they will have some very big shoes to fill with his departure. Thank you Dennis McCauley for all that you did for the profession -- and for your readers. You will be missed.