Behold! I wrote a thing for the EVE Online news site, Crossing Zebras, and have officially joined the CZ writing staff.
Why, you may be wondering, have I done this, and what does it mean for the future of this blog?
To understand my answers, one must first understand my points of view on the various types of EVE Online media.
The EVE Media
I've been a fan of Crossing Zebras for a long time now, having first gotten hooked on the entertaining podcast, and then becoming an avid reader of their news and editorial columns as the site has expanded in scope over the last year.
A long-time addict of EVE-related information, I routinely review about 40 blogs and news sites each week (see the lists of links on this page), in addition to monitoring the #tweetfleet messages on Twitter. I'm a news junkie in Real Life, and that carries over to my EVE Online affliction as well. I also listen faithfully to eight EVE-related podcasts now - and occasionally check out others from time to time, too. There's no lack of good sites and sources for EVE Online news and speculations, that is certain.
Though all of these sources are interesting, each in their own way, I find myself going first each day to three specific sites for the latest news about EVE Online: TheMittani.com (also often referred to as TMDC), EVENews24, and Crossing Zebras. All of these sites have dedicated staffs, and do their best to cover all the latest developments in and about EVE Online. I think of these three outlets as the "mainstream media" for the EVE playing community - they are the most popular sources for general news about the game.
Readers of these news sources need to understand that none of them are completely objective, though I am certain that each strives to maintain editorial integrity, at least to the degree that they each define it. Like nearly everything in life, the definition of what is "neutral" or "balanced" or "fair" is somewhat subjective, and colored to some degree by the backgrounds and points of view of the editors.
In Real Life, I watch CNN, MSNBC, the BBC and Fox News, and it's obvious that the editorial decisions made in each network are made with different points of view in mind. I'm convinced that each of them considers themselves to represent the most fair treatment of the news. One simply needs to know what parts of the editorial spectrum each outlet tends to broadcast from, and then filter and frame the picture accordingly.
So it is with the EVE Online mainstream media as well. The best approach is to read all of them, and thereby get slightly different editorial perspectives, so that you can develop your own and more complete understanding of what is going on.
The Big Three
TheMittani.com is a very useful website, and covers the latest EVE-related news very well. In addition, they report news from other popular online games, and includes the occasional book review or commentary on elements of popular culture. They have an substantial and experienced editorial staff. I especially enjoy their recorded videocasts, The Metashow and TMC Live.
One needs to keep in mind when reading TMDC that the site is named after the "King of Space" for a reason - it was founded by the head of one of the largest and most powerful alliances in the game, Goonswarm, a principal part of the CFC coalition. As a result, the site's content is sometimes flavored with a subtly pro-CFC perspective. Regardless, the site is an excellent source of information about EVE Online, and I recommend it highly.
On the other end of the spectrum is EVENews24 (also known as EN24), which publishes content generated by a contributing staff and from syndicated blog posts. Where TMDC may occasionally include a subtle pro-Goons or pro-CFC perspective, EN24 often posts content with a distinct and sometimes obvious "grrr Goons" point of view. I enjoy reading each site's reports on the same events in EVE Online, just to see the different views on the story. I rely on EN24 less than the other two mainstream sources, but I find it entertaining, and sometimes quite useful, so I read it regularly, and also recommend it to serious EVE aficionados.
Crossing Zebras has emerged as a third alternative for EVE Online news and features, as it has grown beyond the original podcast content. It now has a strong editorial staff, and they have been aggressive in recruiting writers with a diverse range of experience in the game - from null-sec, wormholes, low-sec and high-sec space - with a broad range of topical expertise.
Of the three mainstream sources, I find the editorial perspective of CZ to fall consistently in the middle of the road between TMDC and EN24 - and I've been impressed at how well this has been maintained, despite the visibility of CZ's co-founder, Xander Phoena. He is a strong personality, demonstrated as a candid host of the CZ podcast and by his passionate involvement in the Council of Stellar Management, for which he is currently running for re-election. Xander's recent departure from the CFC to join Pandemic Legion has led to some debate between himself and a CFC bloc candidate, Sion Kumitomo. And yet, under the capable management of editor-in-chief, Niden, CZ's quality and value has not been distracted - the site's content is consistently diverse, interesting and useful.
Personally, I like and respect Xander, and am very impressed with his intense support for the EVE Online community, especially with his Real Life challenges - he sometimes must go offshore to work on drilling platforms. Despite these priorities, he still finds time to produce podcasts, develop a growing news site, and participate actively in ongoing CSM discussions - enough to be invited by CCP Games to the latest summit meeting in Reykjavik. I think his independent voice is a valuable asset and contribution to the community.
And so, I was very flattered to receive an invitation from Xander to write for CZ. I like the team that he has assembled, and I'm delighted to be considered talented enough to be part of it. I'm looking forward to reporting on current events in EVE Online, and especially to contributing to the EVE 101 affiliated website, which is oriented towards helping new players - a personal passion of mine.
What about this blog?
I find independent blogs to be very useful for additional analyses about specific aspects in the game, but as a rule, they each represent the view of a solitary person, without any formal editorial or peer review before publication. This blog, NevilleSmit.com, certainly falls into this category - the content here represents my opinions alone, and no one except me reviews any of my posts.
And so, I will continue to update this blog about every week, more or less, as I have been doing over the last couple of years. It's liberating to have an outlet that I can use to express an opinion, without having that content reviewed and vetted by others.
On the other hand, I'm eager to contribute regularly to CZ, which does use a rigorous editorial review process. I think this will make me a better writer. And it will enable me to reach a broader audience, too. I am just egotistical enough to believe that more members of the EVE Online community will find what I have to say to be of interest.
Fly safe! o7