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If you missed this week's Game Informer Show (how could you?!), then you passed over a great conversation about the "always on" controversy and how we broke the story of designer Adam Orth's departure from Microsoft.
Game journalism often draws criticism for its reporting of "rumors" and "reports" (always clearly marked in the headline at Game Informer and many other sites). The difference is an important one, and understanding how we go about labeling them (and the lengths to which we go especially when livelihoods are on the line) might push back the fog a bit.
We are very cautious about posting rumors, and doing so means that we've identified the story to be of likely interest to our readers and somewhat plausible. The "rumor" tag also means that we cannot confirm the information. However, these stories allow us to draw in past events and reasonable speculation that put the latest tidbits in context.
We make thoughtful decisions before posting and certainly pass over more than we cover. We also ensure that the proper warnings are in place so no one can reasonably mistake rumor for hard fact.
You'll likely see the word "report" leading a headline more often than "rumor." These are stories that come from other sites that we trust and have a history of doing their own due diligence. The difference between "report" and regular news is our ability to independently verify the information.
Every site has sources that would rather remain anonymous (for a number of reasons), but we don't always get the same information at the same time. Be assured though, that we work hard to convert "report" stories by collecting our own information as quickly as possible.
In the case of Adam Orth's departure, we had been following the story for a number of days. We had one source almost immediately, but given the sensitive nature of the matter, we didn't want to take chances by coming forward with this as "rumor." We worked diligently to find a second, separate source to confirm the information, and two things happened at once allowing us to go live.
We called the Microsoft switchboard and were told that Orth was no longer with the company, and a second source came through. At that point, we felt comfortable sharing the information with the public.
Many times, readers wonder why we decide to run stories (or avoid them). I hope this helps make things a bit more transparent. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. We'll do our best to help fill in the blanks.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.