When people ask me how to get into sports journalism these days, my biggest advice is “don’t.” I’m not kidding, as lucky as I am to be where I am, it’s an almost impossible path to travel given the state of the industry and the volatility that exists within.
For example, an uncontrollable incident happened last night in the long-running game The Escapist fired other members of his partyincluding EIC Nick Calandra, reportedly not meeting the standards set by its parent company Gamurs.
Following Calandra’s firing, Escapist staff, contributors and producers all took to Twitter to announce that they were also leaving the site, many of them indicating that they would be working on a new project with Calandra directly.
Walking and shooting cleaned up the entire video department of The Escapist, including most importantly, Yahtzee Croshaw’s walkthrough, the voice of Zero Punctuation, the oldest and most popular game criticism video series, and one that I grew up with. watching for a long time before I started doing this for a living. Croshaw has resigned, but he doesn’t own the rights to Zero Punctuation himself, so whatever he does next, will be outside of that punctuation. Although it is clear that the brand cannot survive without him, even if the Escapist keeps it.
By all accounts Calandra was a great EIC, and clearly inspired a lot of loyalty in those who worked for him, given last night’s events. Gamurs feels like another company trying to squeeze blood out of a rock with growth targets that may not make sense in an industry where major expansion is unlikely. Their video division went from native video to mostly YouTube, which could get more views but generate less money, but apparently all the effort paid off, and now Escapist doesn’t have a video department at all, it seems.
As of this morning, The Escapist is still publishing new articles, as the site has not lost all of its writers or contributors. It is not clear what level of staff or freelancers remain at the company, and what plans there may be to re-hire the new video division. But it’s safe to say that without a classic band or an icon like Yahtzee, it might be completely gone.
As for Calandra and her new work, that’s certainly a very interesting endeavor, as that group has a huge following and hopefully they can put together something that will work for them and their audience without having to deal with the company’s breathing. More on that as details emerge. I’ve reached out to Gamurs for comment and will update when I hear back.
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