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We’ve made it no secret in the past how we feel about the current state of modern game journalism. Things haven’t exactly looked great and there’s been no shortage of problems to discuss for the last few years. But we’ve always stressed that this is just how we feel about the bad examples who dishonor the title of ‘journalist’, and that we believe there are still many good people in the field, who genuinely take their work and their job title seriously. The problem is that with all the negative focus on the problems of late, it’s easy to overlook those fine people and the good work that they do. We need to shine a light of positivity, and encourage these good folks to continue working hard to do the best job they can – this is where The Kunkel Awards come in!

The Kunkel Awards is an event organized, for the second year, by the Society of Professional Journalists, which aims to ‘recognize excellence in video game journalism’. It is appropriately named after our dearly departed old friend – Bill Kunkel, AKA “The Game Doctor”. Bill was the father of video game journalism, having written the earliest known gaming column ‘Arcade Alley’ in 1978, and having co-started the first gaming magazine ‘Electronic Games’. He was also a dear friend of Running With Scissors – he worked with us frequently, and was a dedicated POSTAL fan, from as early as the first game. We see The Kunkel Awards as a beautiful way to honor Bill’s legacy, by spotlighting journalists whose hard work and vigilance Bill could truly be proud of. And the awards are definitely in good hands with the SPJ, which is the nation’s largest journalism organization. If anybody should be hosting this, it should definitely be them.

The Kunkel Awards
are partially a people’s choice award, where anyone and everyone can submit their own nominees for different pieces/stories/videos in 6 different categories, but all of these nominations are then judged by a panel of professional editor-level journalists, who play video games but don’t personally work in game journalism. Submitting a nomination is quick, easy and totally free! There is a submission form right on the awards’ website. The categories for nominations are as follows:

  1. Excellence in News Reporting
  2. Excellence in Feature Writing
  3. Excellence in News Video/Streaming
  4. Excellence in Feature Video/Streaming
  5. Excellence in College Gaming Journalism
  6. Worst Story of the Year

If you know of any particular stories, videos or journalists that have really gone above and beyond, in your eyes, then we encourage you to make a submission as soon as possible! Let’s show the good ones that there is an audience for proper journalism in the games’ industry! The deadline for nominations is until January 20th, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET.

We hope that the Kunkels can be a stepping stone towards a shift in the game journalism field, that by recognizing and appreciating good journalists, more people can be encouraged and incentivized to do better and try harder in the future. Who knows, eventually we might all get to see an industry of gaming journalism that we can all be truly proud of, and shamelessly support! Even if this step is just a small one, it still might be one worth contributing to. ‘Start small, think big.’