Special Statement: To Another Happy News Year

And Thanks to 4+ Million Readers 4.3 million. That is the number of readers who visited this site during 2011.  That is an insane number.  It is a humbling number.  […]

And Thanks to 4+ Million Readers

4.3 million.

That is the number of readers who visited this site during 2011.  That is an insane number.  It is a humbling number.  It is also, hopefully, a number that stands as a testament to the work all of us at TSSZ have accomplished this year.

I said in January that I was well aware of the complaints levied against this site and me personally.  I think we’ve gone a long way toward addressing those concerns.  While we still won’t necessarily shy away from the controversial or even the unconfirmed, we have found a balance between highlighting the good work this community does, the core news you need to know on a daily basis, and knowing when to tread lightly on the more melodramatic.  I believe actions speak louder than words, so believe me when I say these actions of late are genuine.  Hopefully, you have noticed this difference in news judgment, because believe me, there have been opportunities to deviate, albeit less so than last year.  (On the Twitter…well, we’re working on it.)

Instead, we were busy with other matters…mostly having something to do with an anniversary of some sort.  You trusted us to be your comprehensive resource for Sonic Generations information and media during the year.  We’ve broken a few big stories here concerning the game, confirming information other sources had scoffed at.  What’s more, while we haven’t been everywhere, we’ve taken great pains to cover official and community events, large and small.  The hype train for Sonic 4: Episode 2 is revving up, and we’ve been able to clarify information and bring you key details of the game before Ken Balough could.  For the third year in a row, we brought you direct coverage from the New York Comic Con and the Tokyo Game Show.  And…well, we’ll see about Sonic Dimensions.

While there remain a couple among us who remain adamant refusing to give us credit or even a simple citation for our hard work, we appreciate those who we’ve not always seen eye to eye with–Sonic Wrecks and Sonic Stadium among others–who did just that when we broke big stories this year.  It also helps when even bigger names like GoNintendo, Joystiq, Destructoid, Gamereactor, and even the gone but not forgotten GamePro among many others recognize our efforts this year, along with countless readers on a wide variety of forums.  We thank all of those big and small, inside the community and out, who trusted us enough to give us a mention every now and then.  Our gratitude is also necessary for our partners around the world who helped us when we couldn’t be somewhere.

We also appreciate that you hold us to a higher standard than you might for similar sites.  That helps us work harder to maintain your trust.  I have always said this not a fan site; this is a news site.  While the environment here mellowed out a bit in 2011, TSSZ staff and I will not forget that news and its core tenets–depth, clarity, perspective–are what keep you coming back.  Despite the wiggle room allowed from working within the frame of video games, we always make sure the heart of our stories try and make you think.  We want to be held to a higher standard, because ultimately, that will help us break more stories.

Ultimately, if you don’t like what we do here, at least appreciate how we’ve compelled others to step up and give you more in the wake of our presence.  Before TSSZ returned in 2008, there were few places to stay informed on Sonic and Sega news daily.  Today, there are several.  You are now able to read many different views and interpretations of the day’s news, and I think that’s great.  Keep in mind that when I restarted TSSZ in 2008, I didn’t do it to become a news overlord, a role model, a moral authority, or say First @ TSSZ at every opportunity possible.  I did it to bring you the damn news, to fill what I felt was a void.  That’s it.  Now, news circulation in this community is wider than it’s ever been.

Whether you come here for the original reporting, the unique perspective, the simple convenience, or the occasional dark humor, I thank you for stopping by.  If you’ve come away dissatisfied or even enraged, I thank you for giving us a shot anyway.  I’ve learned trying to please every single person, each with his or her own unique tastes, is close to impossible.  Those who abhor us at least gave us a chance, and we’ve at least made them think; that’s good enough for me.  If you’ve come back, giving us a second chance, I thank you as well.

We will continue to improve and innovate in areas where it’s needed, and hopefully that will reflect in 2012.  This site has a very talented staff, and we all are looking forward to keeping you informed next year…perhaps beyond the confines of these pages.

Finally, I don’t have to tell you that independent news reporting is hard to come by in the video game industry these days.  Exclusives, for the most part, are bought, and access will only go as far as the company you’re covering will allow it.  While it may be permissible–they are private companies, after all–that doesn’t make it any less deplorable.  While I thank Aaron Webber for affording us a few Sonic Boom tickets to give away this year, our relationship with Sega is not anywhere near as ideal as I’d like it to be.  I’m sure there are many within the company who have champagne on ice, ready for celebration when I decide to pack it up and ride into the sunset.

But maybe that’s the way it should be.  Maybe the barrage of E-Mails I send knowing full well I’ll receive a no comment, or the second and sometimes third copy of a game I purchase so my staff can review it, or any number of less than flattering remarks about me batted about behind my back is the price for not having to worry about filtering or censoring our stories.  I’d like to think we do things the old-fashioned way from time to time around here; we don’t always wait for people to tell us what the news is (though if we miss something, the use of News Tips is always encouraged!), we go and find it ourselves.  We search, we dig, we pry, we surprise, and yes, we sometimes do make people mad.  But your continued patronage of TSSZ shows me this independent style of news, free from corporate oversight and influence and instead wholly dependent on your scrutiny, can and does work.  Not only has this year showed it works, but it works while rebuilding and fostering a more tempered environment under which it lives.  Maybe–just maybe–we’ve finally gotten it right.

Happy News Year.