Times Uber-Reporter at it Again! Wallace Dishes on the Virtual Vacation that is SL

by Alphaville Herald on 28/10/05 at 9:16 am

Forget about Plamegate, Harriet Miers, the war, and the next hurricane. The big news in today’s New York Times is clearly the story by Mark Wallace, discussing virtual travel, but with a big emphasis on Second Life. But the big dish in here is the news that former Post Six Girl Diamond Hope – the subject of Walker Spaight’s “Making of a Post Six Girl” story has gotten hitched to another Second Lifer. But in real life! Woot! (And Pat the Rat tells us that they met through the Post Six Girl story!) As if that wasn’t enough sex and romance for you, Herald mafia reporter and former MoMoHo Gina Fatale is quoted too! Dang, is that Wallace guy a great reporter or what?

Oh yeah, there is also reference to various SL movers and shakers in the club business, an obligatory quote from that egghead Teddy C, and a still more obligatory quote from that fattie huffing W-Hat luffing guy that works at Linden Lab — King Philip.

20 Responses to “Times Uber-Reporter at it Again! Wallace Dishes on the Virtual Vacation that is SL”

  1. Marsellus Wallace

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Isn’t the writer of the NY Times story Walker??? Kind of biased reporting then isn’t it? Just giving you shit Walker.. =) Anyway, story isn’t loading for me yet, but can’t wait to read it. Gina told me about it night before last in-game.

    Marsellus Wallace
    Making a Comeback =)

  2. Walker Spaight

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Shhhh, Marsellus! Anyway, I’m allowed to write about things I like! Now, if I were a /Linden/ writing for the New York Times, *that* would be a problem.

  3. Marsellus Wallace

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Ok, not to turn this into a debate on journalism ethics.. But I do have a question for you Walker.. Nothing to do with this, but a general journalism question, so don’t think it’s directed at you specifically. Uri can feel free to reply as well.

    Do you think that a story can be fair and unbiased when written by someone who participates in those particular activities being written on? Not necessarily a journalist who plays games who writes about games, but for example a journalist who is a member of the NRA and is doing a story on gun control. Same could be applied to games I guess. A journalist who is about to have a book come out based on a game (among other games) that he plays for his fun (regardless if he claims it’s a social experiment). I would assume that the story really could not be unbiased.. Fair, sure.. But unbiased? I don’t know a single journalist who isn’t swayed by their emotions when they write.

    Anyway, I’m just curious about that..

    Marsellus Wallace
    New Mafia Coming Soon =)

  4. Budka

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Gee, I was really anxious to read Walker’s … er.. Mark’s article but it appears that the link is broken. I am unsure if this is a joke or another sterling example of the Herald playing loose with the facts.

  5. Urizenus

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Bud, the link is working just find for me. Try pasting it in to your browser if you are still having probs:


    Meanwhile, Wallace, what on earth do you want. Is it your idea that the only ethical reporting on games must come from people that don’t play the games? You should be glad that there are finally reporters who know what they are writing about.

    I also don’t understand your point about the book. Reporters write books — it is another way to report.

  6. Walker Spaight

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Yes, Mars, as Uri points out, there are tons of articles every day in which reporters who play golf write about golf, reporters who cook write about cooking, reporters who have children write about child care, reporters who have teeth write about dentists, reporters who drive cars write about auto insurance, reporters who vote write about politics, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

    That said, I don’t really buy the myth of completely antiseptic unbiased journalism. Everyone is swayed by their emotions all the time. But part of the craft of writing for newspapers is to learn to approach things from a different angle. That’s why the Times and many other publications have such an emphasis on verifiable facts. (They did fact-check this story, btw.) Facts are what go in a newspaper story, for the most part. (This one is in a feature section, so it can bear up under the weight of a few adjectives as well.) Pretty much anything else you save for books, magazines or blogs.

  7. Marsellus Wallace

    Oct 28th, 2005

    I love working Uri up lol. I understand all of what your saying.

    What I am trying to say, is for example.. What made Walker decide to do the story on Second Life versus SWG let’s say. Keep in mind I havent read the story and for all I know it does talk about SWG. Just making an example. I am not just saying the book or this story, I am talking in general.

    I recently read something over CBS or NBC some place like that taking a reporter off gun stories becuase he was found to be giving donations to that Brady organization for gun control. They considered it a conflict of interest. My question is simple. Where do journalists draw that line?

    Also, most journalists who write books write about something they cover regularly and their experiences with that. Which sounds like the book is just that for Walker and Uri, but does Walker regularly write gaming stories? See what I mean?

    Marsellus Wallace

    P.S. The link is not working regardless of copy n paste.

  8. What a swell article, Walker! I enjoyed it thoroughly! :)

  9. Aimee Weber

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Shame on Mark for not mentioning who designed that lovely city featured in the article! Despite this oversight it was a wonderful read :D

  10. Marsellus Wallace

    Oct 28th, 2005

    For those that the link is not working:

    Try http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/10/28/travel/escapes/28virtual.html

    Although, that’s not working for me either.

    Marsellus Wallace

  11. Cocoanut

    Oct 28th, 2005

    I love that it was in the travel section!


  12. Walker Spaight

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Marsellus: Yes, it’s usually the financial involvement that is the problem. That’s why I originally said, “If I was a Linden” (I’d Linden in the morning…), i.e., if I was getting paid by anyone to be in SL then it would be a problem.

    And yeah man, I write gaming stories all the time. Well, not *all* the time, but regularly, anyway. As you would know if you read Walkering.com. Sheesh, where ya been?

    Here’s the first story about a gamer I ever wrote, I think. No, actually, it was the second. Anyway, 5 years ago.

  13. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Even though Walker’s story is from a world he lives in, it’s no more biased then if he wrote about New York while living in New York in this case. People have had this debate for years about the gonzo journalism of alternative papers like the Voice (which you can read about in this week’s 50th anniversary issue). Could you be part of the beatnik/hippie/gay liberation/Vietnam protester scene and still report accurately and fairly? Veteran reporter Nat Hentoff tells an interesting story, calling this style of reporting “personal journalism” at http://www.villagevoice.com/specials/0543,50thehent,69254,31.html
    “One morning, I got a call from a young reporter, one of our best, Don McNeill, who was covering an anti-war demonstration at Grand Central Terminal that the police tried to break up by force, including smashing heads. Our reporter, who had been clubbed, said hurriedly to me on the phone, ‘Should I put in the story that I’ve got blood on my shirt, or is that putting myself too much into the story?’

    ‘That’s your lead,’ I told him. I doubt that anyone on the New York Times news desk ever got such a call from a reporter in the field.”

    So it *is* a legitimate brand of journalism, but Walker Spaight doesn’t even really practice that sort of community journalism — after all, we had to get it from the Herald that Diamond is a PostSix Grlll and hear about Gina and her club. That’s because Walker just kinda travels around observing, and doesn’t get REALLY involved in the world, it seems to me. And in fact, he’s followed in the footsteps of the very conventional media coverage of SL by having the de rigeur nod to Midnight City, home of Aimee’s undies, of course, featured in the picture (not even especially an exotic travel destination, geez); and giving props to FairChang’s island and boats — though many not know that Walker himself constructed upon my request a really amazing submersible called a “bathysphere” (ask for a ride some time though I never learned how to pilot the thing).

    So, he doesn’t write for the Times about *his own* adventures per se but just about the standard list of people that mainstream journalists write about.

    To give him credit, he did go past the well-trod path of the Linden PR people to cover Neo-Realms Fishing in Alston (though this is now probably on the new approved PR list, now that *something* has to replace the ubiquitous Cubey Terra) — and Monmarte, the artist’s colony. I think it’s a pretty fair taste of SL as an exotic destination.

    If anything, in this interview, Philip seems a bit nonplussed at having to think of his brainchild appearing as a virtual travel destination where people have fun (ermmm….a game…would that be?) instead of being earnestly described as a “monetarized socializing platform”.

    Walker also fell for that six-figure stuff like all journalists. I wonder when SOMEBODY, if not Walker or Ted Castronova (both of them seem to have too much a stake now in this story being true) will ever really investigate these claims.

  14. Ugh

    Oct 28th, 2005


  15. Ugh

    Oct 28th, 2005

    your url is leaving the form on the front of the site and going all wackie, can’t someone fix this error in the code??? it’s totally left the form and is going across the page!

  16. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Uri, you know, your whole blog sucks in that technical respect that you cannot cut and paste phrases or URLs off it. At least, I’ve never been able to — it won’t let you. You have to hunt around for the RSS feed through the sea of code to link to an article. And no, that URl for the Times won’t take you there though it is the address, maybe because you have to register to read it. So first go to http://www.nytimes.com and register for free then go to the Travel section then look for Escapes on the upper right hand navigation bar.

  17. Urizenus

    Oct 28th, 2005

    maybe the NYT doesnt’ like you. It works for me.

  18. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Sigh. Uri, I’m registered with the Times, and it’s logged in to watch breaking news often. But that link just does not go there. Whatever. While it’s true I only read this leftist blog after midnight when they refresh it, and NEVER buy the hard copy, I do know some of the journalists there and respect them, and I don’t think it’s the case the NYT doesn’t like me. But hey, maybe once the IP grabber grabs my IP on the Herald, the NY Times IP grabber can’t grab as efficiently?

  19. Walker Spaight

    Oct 28th, 2005

    Firefox ftw

  20. Gina Fatale

    Oct 29th, 2005

    try this link if its any diff idk but this is what walker sent me to my email and it works fine for me:

    here ya go:

    oh and thank you walker for considering me and letting me part of this great little article :)

    Marsellus – i’ll be seeing you later you big stud lol.

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