The Georgia Straight does tech badly


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Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Can someone please tell me when The Georgia Straight turned into a conservative rag? Their last two covers have been all about confirming stereotypes. Fresh off last weeks front page feature that promoted the novel and in no way stereotypical idea that Asians are good at school, we get the “Hey some girls play video games too!” cover [tgs]. Add to that the cheesecake FHM/Maxim picture and we’re reading a lads mag.

Yeah Straight 1999 called and it wants its article back.

The women playing video game articles are old hat to anyone who owns the internet. Gaming industry sites like IGN have been covering this for years, and even if you want to just look at general interest mags I’ve seen articles similiar to this in the lads magazines, most mainstream media outlets and magazines at least since the Wii was released.

Maybe aside from a few unfortunate cover selectionsTthe Straight‘s real problem is with technology. I’ve never seen a particularly good tech article in the paper, and a lot of times it’s like they’re listening to last year’s This Week In Tech podcast for ideas. Last issue they covered Google Maps for God’s sake. It’s especially disapointing because Vancouver is a high tech city, hell it’s a video game city with Rare, EA and others having studios here. As a tech writer myself I notice tech writing and even small town interior papers have better technology columns than your average Straight stab at tech.

8 Comments so far

  1. buzz (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

    It’s a matter of knowing your audience. Newbie tech articles are fine for mass media papers like the Sun and Province.

    But you’d think the audience of the Straight would be a little more tuned to the sub-culture of the web and ready for more Boing Boing-esque coverage.


  2. ianmack (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

    speaking of behind the times, have you seen the straight’s website? ouch.


  3. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

    Well there’s a difference between writing an article that even your grandmother could understand and writing one that only your grandmother would want to read. The Straight does the later.

    I do think it’s a failing of not only the Straight but a lot of indie mags. They sort of see their target audience as themselves and if they’re not comfortable or familiar with new technology then they sort of just ignore it. I’d say that it would come up and bite them in the ass at one point, but any of the challengers that have tried to wrestle local indie domination away from the Straight have been equally lacking (see Terminal City).

    And yes their site is ugly, but sadly it’s the most useable of all the Vancouver papers.


  4. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

    Calling the Georgia Straight a conservative rag, even half-jokingly, is really stretching it. By the way, the cheesecake covers have been with the Georgia Straight for as long as I can remember – modestly interspersed between demonizing cartoons of Stephen Harper or cartoon renditions of the city besieged by construction cranes.


  5. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

    Really? Their last two covers have been all about confirming stereotypes. I remember a day when the Straight used to be edgy and exciting and maybe it’s just me but they don’t seem particularly more interesting these days than the Province or the Sun. They just happen to be free.

    Demonizing cartoons of Harper? Negative comments about the overly rapid development of Vancouver? Those don’t sound out of place in either the Sun or the Province.

    Maybe the phrase I’m looking for isn’t conservative, or at least not in the political sense. Maybe I’m aiming for “conservative” more in the meaning of “safe” and “middle of the road”.

    The main point though is that they just don’t do tech writing well, which is sort of a apocalyptical. But I think it’s something that they don’t even see the need to do well.


  6. Rebecca (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2007 @ 10:50 pm

    Weird. I got some spam magazine from Rogers… I think “urmagazine”? Its feature this month was female gamers as well.


  7. Ryan Cousineau (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2007 @ 10:20 am

    Am I alone in actually liking most of the tech writing in the Straight? I find Dave Watson’s “Dot Comment” column very readable most weeks, and the recent addition of a video game column by Blaine Kyllo has been welcome, too.

    I note that the cover article is by Shawn Conner, who is not really one of the regular tech columnists.

    Aside from being a thoroughly played-out subject and a non-novel approach, the real problem throughout the article is a definition of terms: there’s some implication that because women aren’t playing “Final Madden Theft Halo 4: Warcraft Fighter,” they’re not really playing games.

    Because Solitare, every web-served Flash game, and the stuff that came free on your cel phone don’t count as video games.

    Even “female-friendly” games like those suggested in the article are not especially jump-in-and-play, for the most part. Beyond the simple commitment of actually owning the console, becoming a decent DDR player or Guitar Hero is a pretty massive time sink.

    And on that note, I just received my copy of Guitar Hero II in the mail yesterday, so you won’t be hearing much from me for a while. I have to unlock the Trogdor song.


  8. DBarclay (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

    Since the “girls playing video games!” story has appeared in at least two places recently (The Straight and Unmagazine, as noted above) I suspect it is the work of publicists. I didn’t think The Straight was the kind of publication that ran stories that were handed to them by publicists, but now I eagerly await their in-depth analysis of how “The Business Suit is Back!”



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