'I, Me, Mine' Journalism / by J.C. Hutchins

So. Three paragraphs into this 2,500-word feature story about an icon in the video games biz, and the reporter injects himself into the story. A brief skimming of the piece suggests he will do this again and again and again.

Video game journalists—and indeed, many online writers who never went to J-school—do this all the time. It's like catnip. They can't help themselves. They cannot fathom the concept that the narrative is not, in fact, about them.

Yes, I'm grousing about this again. (I whine about this often on Facebook.) Maybe it's an age thing; a practice that undisciplined young writers, overseen by undisciplined editors, can't help but do. Maybe it's a generational narrative trend. Maybe it's a games-industry thing. Maybe it's a lack of formal editorial training. (Or alternately, a kind of formal editorial training that I deeply disapprove of.)

I'm totally get-off-my-lawning here, I know. I remind myself that my thinking must represent the ossified, arthritic perspective of someone who learned journalism before the Internet. (See? Right there. I capitalized Internet, per the AP Stylebook circa 1998.) I must be out of touch. I'm a tone-deaf geezer.

Unless I'm not. I flail and fail at most things I do. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. But I know good storytelling—non-fiction narrative in particular. It's the only thing I've ever been really good at. I know how that house is built. 

And where I come from, good journalists don't talk about themselves in their stories. They are observers. Facilitators. They are the radio through which the song is played. They are never the stars.