Kill Screen Editorial Ethics Policies
So we here at Kill Screen take editorial pretty seriously. Everything tattooed on any of the editorial arms of Kill Screen comes from our editorial staff and trusted contributors. We don’t lean on press releases (when humanly possible) or word-of-mouth to pick what things we cover.
Most importantly, nothing on Kill Screen is for sale (except for ads obviously!). You can’t pay us to write about you. No editorial is dictated by advertising or sponsors. We’ll never sell or share your information without your consent.
As Pops says, the bane of any relationship is unspoken, unfulfilled expectations. You trust us enough with your precious time; the least we could do is express the expectations we have ourselves. We hope you hold us to them.
This page outlines the general policies that guide the professional conduct of all editors of and contributors to Kill Screen and its network of sites. These policies uphold our goal to provide unbiased coverage and criticism of the games and beyond!
Policy on Review Assets and Promotional Materials (Software, Hardware and Merchandise)
Staff members are permitted to request and receive software and hardware on behalf of Kill Screen for the purpose of previewing, reviewing or publishing other editorial content for the Kill Screen network. Software may not remain in the permanent collections of staff members and must be returned to the provider or used as all or a portion of a prize for a contest, giveaway or reader meetup associated with Kill Screen. (Note: Downloaded software or software not compatible with retail hardware or not designed for retail may remain in the personal possession of staff, if it cannot be returned or repurposed ; or it may be retained by Kill Screen for company use.)
Hardware that is on loan from a manufacturer for ongoing preview, review and otherwise professional use may remain in a staff member’s possession until that person is no longer associated with Kill Screen; at which point the hardware must be returned to the provider or to a senior member of the Kill Screen staff for reassignment. Hardware that is received as a gift or other promotional purpose is subject to the same terms as our software policy and must be returned or used as a giveaway.
Game-related merchandise may also be requested and received for editorial purposes or for use as giveaways. Staff members are permitted to dispose of merchandise or other promotional materials valued under $50.
Policy on Travel, Accommodations and Gifts
Staff members may not accept travel, accommodations or gifts of any nature from a company or representative that has direct interest in our editorial content without public disclosure. Kill Screen does not accept airfare or hotel accommodations for its staff from companies or representatives hosting an event that requires transportation and accommodation. Any deviations from this policy will be expressly made public on a case-by-case basis.
Policy on Trade Shows and other Events
Staff members attending trade shows or other industry or press events on behalf of Kill Screen may not accept travel or accommodations outside of those provided under sponsorship, as determined by Kill Screen advertising department (see below). Staff members may accept software, hardware or merchandise at such events for editorial purposes and for use as prizes in contests, giveaways and reader meetups associated with Kill Screen.
Kill Screen does not accept invitations to private dinners, but staff members are welcome to accept food and drink provided during events that they attend on behalf of Kill Screen. Staff members are expected to conduct themselves professionally when representing Kill Screen. In general, that means not drinking beyond Aaron Burr-levels of public aggression or passing out in the elevator.
Additionally, Kill Screen and its staff members may decline invitations to industry events in which the environments could give the appearance of impropriety, as well as any events that are only tangentially related to games.
Policy on Industry Participation and Public Appearances
Staff members are encouraged to be participating members of the video game industry in so far as their capacities to serve as judges, panelists or make otherwise public and professional appearances on behalf of Kill Screen.
Policy on Third-Party Competitions and Contests
Staff members are permitted to participate in video game competitions held by a company or representative that has direct interest in our editorial content, but any prizes received are subject to the standard Kill Screen policy on software, hardware and merchandise. Staff members may not participate in contests held by a company or representative that has direct interest in our editorial content with the exception of being automatically entered into a giveaway or other contest held at an event at which staff may attend on behalf of Kill Screen. Any prizes received in conjunction with such an exception are subject to the standard Kill Screen policy on software, hardware and merchandise. (See above.)
Policy on News Gathering and Accreditation
Kill Screen and its staff consult hundreds of sources in gathering news and information for its editorial purposes. When available, our sources can be accessed via the “via” link at the bottom of a post and are often highlighted by contextual links in our posts. Where necessary, we also credit secondary sources, typically in brackets in the last line of our post text, as “thanks” or “h/t” (aka hat-tip).
If you feel we have not properly credited you or your outlet, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Policy on Advertising
Kill Screen is part of Kill Screen Media, Inc., a videogame arts and culture company. In addition to our advertising and sponsorship partnership with Pitchfork Media Inc., we sell in our own advertising inventory.
If you would like to purchase ad space on a Kill Screen network site, please email email@example.com for a media kit.
Policy on Personal and Professional Activity (Beyond Kill Screen)
A staff member must publicly disclose certain conflicts of interest, excepting personal relationships with parties that have direct interest in our editorial content, which may remain the knowledge of Kill Screen only, but must not compromise a staff member’s ability to maintain the Kill Screen Editorial Ethics Policies. Editorial staff members may not own stock in publicly traded video game publishers and companies with the exception of media conglomerates that own, but are not significantly altered by the financial status of video game publishers, developers or other associated entities.
Additionally, staff members may not troll or otherwise bring grief to Kill Screen, its competitors or the games blogosphere at large in their personal endeavors.
Policy on Kill Screen MFG:
Now, as you may or may know, Kill Screen has a production arm called Kill Screen Manufacturing (KSMFG). Most media businesses have a divide between their editorial and business departments — this is how ours is laid out. KSMFG makes games among other things. While we may advertise our products or make announcements related to their release (think about how Pitchfork or Make advertise their festivals), we’ll never review our own creations. That would be silly, right?
Game designers and artists that we cover may be contracted to do work for Kill Screen. For those specific projects, as mentioned above, Kill Screen may not take an editorial stance or hype those games outside of announcements of Kill Screen MFG’s handiwork or advertising.
Occasionally, Kill Screen MFG may be contracted by brands, videogame or otherwise, for partnerships on events. These should be not be construed as advertising endorsements for given products.
Special thanks to Joystiq for inspiration and allowing us to pilfer some of their language.