Updated: Apr 22
The art of the word has many purposes: To inform, entertain, inspire or simply bewilder and strike a person in awe. The word is a good thing and has the power to do and make incredible strides in a very complex world. Then there are times when the word is utilized in such a way that corrupts and harms a person not only publicly but most importantly mentally. Writers have a key responsibility to make sure that whether they are writing a review, an argumentative piece, a fictional piece, research title, or expose they need to do it in a way where the dignity of the subject of the piece is maintained and held to the highest standard. Doing otherwise not only does a disservice to the writer but the subject.
Respect: In this article when I say subject I mean the person/purpose of what the writer is writing about. That said when looking into the exploitation of the word we have to first define it. Exploiting the word in this universe means exploiting the very thing you’re writing about. The person and/or the topic. The very nature of your reason for what you are writing on deserves the utmost respect and loyalty. When you take on the task of writing about, for example, a person or persons who have been traumatized you are taking their mentality, what they have been through, their traumas, and their successes all into your hands to portray them in the most respectable SAFE way possible. Doing anything else endangers them and puts their mentality further at risk.
Yes, it’s your fault, and that’s ok. A writer's accountability starts with taking the blame for their own work. It may be an uncomfortable thing at times but as a writer, one should realize that with every success you make, it is yours to call your own. A little beacon of light that shines and is your saving grace on a rainy day. But the distresses you make, those are yours to call your own as well. From the successes to the distresses you are the owner of it all. Creating a safe space for both the person you are interviewing and the reader is paramount to a good, well-structured piece. There is a difference between a story that is there to educate the masses and a story that sells because the writer wants views, clicks, and reads.
In the gaming industry in particular it is not only very competitive but this area of work has writers who either post articles that drag games for their mechanics, the storyline, the audience, or even something as simple as a patch. Or, on the flip side, there are the writers that are manipulative and will go to any length just to get a story. The writers who are in the middle (like myself) who have ethics, who report on games from a truthful or unbiased standpoint with morals are usually left to the waste side because it’s not what is considered “entertaining”. As a writer, you have to decide what audience you want to pander to, and how your morals and ethics coincide with that. You don’t always have to sell your soul to the devil for success.
Off The Record Means OFF THE RECORD: In the case that you are not reviewing a game, but interviewing someone their words matter, and what they say to YOU THE WRITER MATTERS. When they say, “I don’t want to discuss this” or "I’d rather have this off the record” or an even bigger one, "could you please not include the details of such and such, thank you”. You listen, and you adhere to what they want. YOU, you as the writer are the instrument in which the interviewee is using to share their story. Don’t degrade their trust, and don’t think just because you hold then pen, therefore you hold the power. That’s not the way it goes when you are interviewing a person. When you're reviewing a game, that is a bit different and allows for creativity. When interviewing a human, you are THEIR pen. You are THEIR words that they cannot find.
Create, Don’t Destroy. Conclusion:
As a writer you have to take responsibility for your actions, what you do and how you will affect others. Some writers who have platforms on the larger side seldom forget a very crucial thing, their actions and how they portray the person in that very moment has a lasting impact, and while yes I’ve stated this previous it is PARAMOUNT to understand since so many think they wield a holy weapon when in fact they at times wield daggers. Creating a place where you are allowing people to speak is an amazing thing, writing articles on your thoughts, the way you interpret the world is an amazing thing but lest we forget that we have power. And one word, one phrase one sentence can turn that power into something evil and hurtful. We as writers have the task of shaping people’s opinions on the world, whether that be for a game, a humans rights topic, or a simple blog about what we had for breakfast. It is our job to speak out and use the words we have been given to summon strength, courage, and wisdom. Not fear, anger, or sadness.