Recently the CSM White Paper was revised and in its new text prohibited people from being on the CSM who were "employees of other gaming companies/games/gaming media" and has led to some confusion as to what compromises "gaming media". You can read some of the details on that here at the CSM Watch blog. Most instructive of the information I've read so far is that blogs and "fansites" like Crossing Zebras and Evenew24 are not considered gaming media while TheMitanni.com is.
I want to delve into the question independent of the CSM White Paper and the drama surrounding Sion Kumitomo, TheMitanni.com, and CCP, and ask and answer the question if blogs like this one should be considered gaming media.
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media - noun
1. a plural of medium.
2. (usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely
You'll notice in that second definition that there is nothing that says that the means of communication has to be a company or organization of people, or even if it needs to be profitable or not. But rather that it can reach or influence people widely.
In the last month I had 13 thousand page views. Although I'm sure a lot of that was repeat visitors and search engines it does not include any audience I get through RSS feed readers since my feed posts full articles and readers don't need to come to my site for my content. Nor does it include any audience that I reach through my syndication with Evenews24.com when they post one of my articles. Does that audience reach qualify my blog as media?
When Ripard Teg burst on the blogging scene in 2011 with his blog Jester's Trek no one could have imagined that his ~3 year and a bit effort would become a widely read and influential source. To say he was one of the dominate members of the meta not a stretch, and his audience of his humble blogspot blog far exceeded mine at its height.
Noizy Gamer's work on his blog The Nosy Gamer investigating Real Money Trading in general and in EVE in particular, both company endorsed and illicit black markets, has at many times been of journalistic quality and gotten him well-earned recognition from the community and CCP.
In April of 2014 the US Justice system weighed in on the matter:
A recent legal decision that helps support this idea was handed down in a Florida court case involving accusations of defamation. Under state law, anyone who wants to pursue a defamation case has to notify the media outlet in question five days before filing. But Christopher Comins argued he didn’t have to do so in the case of a blog post from university student Matthew VanVoorhis, because blogs aren’t a traditional form of media and therefore aren’t entitled to notice.In other words, a blog can be considered media if it acts like traditional media and has the impact of traditional media. So yeah, I think gaming media can and does include gaming blogs.
As Techdirt notes, Comins’s argument was thrown out by the original court, but he appealed. Now, an appeals court has upheld that decision — and in the course of doing so, the judges in question chose to provide some great commentary on the importance of blogging as a form of media. The decision says:“The advent of the internet as a medium and the emergence of the blog as a means of free dissemination of news and public comment have been transformative… the impact of blogs has been so great that even terms traditionally well defined and understood in journalism are changing as journalists increasingly employ the tools and techniques of bloggers – and vice versa.”The court went on to say that the term blog typically refers to a site operated by a single individual or a small group that has primarily an informational purpose, most commonly in an area of special interest, knowledge or expertise — and one which usually provides for public impact or feedback. Based on this, the decision states, “it appears clear that many blogs and bloggers will fall within the broad reach of media, and, if accused of defamatory statements, will qualify as a media defendant.” It continues:“There are many outstanding blogs on particular topics, managed by persons of exceptional expertise, to whom we look for the most immediate information on recent developments and on whom we rely for informed explanations of the meaning of these developments.”
The words in the CSM white paper, if interpreted strictly, should exclude anyone with a blog or other similar fansite. I'm not sure what CCP is trying to do with its "gaming media" versus its (unofficial) "fansite" distinction but I think its clear the wording in the CSM white paper is not thought out and should be clarified, or thrown out entirely.