How Common Is “Questionable” Reporting In The Flight Sim Community?

Source of image: John We are all aware of the ‘news’ websites within our special, if limited community. We know that websites love articles where they gain hundreds and hundreds of hits for their…

Posted: 03-Jun-2016 @ 23:39z

Source of image: John

We are all aware of the ‘news’ websites within our special, if limited community. We know that websites love articles where they gain hundreds and hundreds of hits for their articles, as it means more views = more ad revenue. But when did this become standard practice in our community?

Yes, some would argue that FSElite could be classed as a ‘news’ site also, but even though we’re still in our infancy, we want our readers to know this: we’re NOT in the business to be “just another news site” and we will NEVER post articles for the sake of your clicks.

You’ve probably seen the controversy on another ‘news’ site regarding some specific PMDG 747 news, and this is exactly the type of ‘click-bait’ articles we’re calling “questionable.” It provided nothing but misguided information based on absolutely nothing. There was no source, there was no evidence and the author even changed the title of the article to try and save some skin, just in case the outlandish rumour wasn’t true [side note: it wasn’t true].

questionable jounralism

So what did this achieve for this particular website?

  • More hits to the website
  • Increased ad revenue
  • Gained an increased audience

Sounds all good right? Well, there were some serious consequences too as a result of this irresponsible journalism…

  • Lost all integrity, thus showing their ‘insiders’ are not real
  • Loss of trust from their readership, which in turn will DECREASE their audience
  • Damages reputation – the next time a ‘rumour’ appears, people won’t believe it
  • Destroys relationships built with developers and publishers.

The last point is particularly important. “We always tell you when beta has started, so what would some dude have to make that up? Oh yeah, he wants traffic…”, PMDG’s Randazzo (RSR) said, after finding out that this website ran the ‘rumour’. He then added that he had given his buisness card “in person” to the website so that they could contact PMDG if they needed information. “This is what more honest peers do,” RSR then concluded.

We are a relatively small community – one that prides itself on its ability to be multilingual and multicultural. We are all here for the same reason; because we love to fly and we love aviation. With such small numbers, we need to look out for one another – not mislead people into falsities.

What makes matters worse is the fact that when called out on their shoddy journalism (and when you attempt to report news, that is what journalism is), the author denies it all and in response, fails to even to apologise to their readership for the confusion caused. It’s a scary thought to think that there are people out there who think they are high and mighty in their ivory tower, who can tell their readers what to think and then try to get away with it.

Now, we know we’re another website that’s brand new on the scene. We know that people will accuse us of ‘clickbait’ articles, simply because we post links to FSElite on social media and other aviation websites. However, clickbait is defined as “content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.” We simply post links, alongside information and sources, to give people information and FACT! We don’t post information on FSElite to be sensationalist or provocative in any way.

Rumours are okay to post – we don’t have a problem with a well-informed and backed-up rumour. After all, most news starts off as a rumour. But what we must emphasise to you, our community, we will never, ever post a rumour without reasonable proof or a trustworthy source. We won’t claim a “birdie” told us. We won’t use a ‘chain’ of sources either – “John told Dave who told Michelle to tell me.” It’s nonsense and the Flight Sim community deserves better.

Sadly, hearsay rumours aren’t the only form of questionable content out there. There’s also websites who favour certain developers and publishers based on their advertisement deals. We’ve all seen reviews that don’t match up with user and other reviewer’s opinions – and then the next week you see a massive advertisement push! It’s a sad day when a website can’t even review a product without being influenced with the thought of upsetting a publisher. We understand that developers in our community work tirelessly on a product, but equally, we need to remember we reward these same developers with our hard earned money when a product is good.

A ‘bad’ product can always be reviewed fairly. It’s all about being balanced and explaining facts. That is also another FSlite guarantee. Yes, we will go down the route of advertisements soon, and yes, developers and publishers will provide us with press copies, but we assure you that our reviews will always keep you, the community, in mind at all times.

At FSElite, we will be providing fair and consistent reviews. All of our upcoming reviews will be free of bias, favouritism and we won’t be “sell-outs”. We want to provide you with a safe and reliable website, which you can trust.

We need to keep Flight Sim thriving with well-educated, well thought out and fair articles. We need to ensure that our community have a fair and honest chance to make a decision on whether to purchase a product.

We hope by setting the trend for professional journalism in the Flight Sim community, we can inspire the others to do the same, so the community can come out only stronger from this. FSElite was DESIGNED with the community in mind, we could not produce and create the content we do without your support.The FSElite team and I look forward to growing the community WITH you, not for you!


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Calum Martin
Calum has been an avid fan of Flight Sim since the release of FS2000 and has developed his love for aviation ever since.
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