The next interview in our Advanced Careers series is with Johann Landier. Johann is the former Editor in Chief for Eve News 24. He is a well-qualified writer and manager, rising through the ranks of EN24 relatively swiftly.
We sat down with him on the 3rd of December to find out more about the EVE media – how it works, how to get involved and its significance.
How did you get to be editor in chief? Was there a career progression, so to speak?
So, I have been in alliance leadership (Tribal Band), an FC, corp officer, and a corp CEO (I have a corp in Darkness which I run). I also have 25+ years of real-world leadership and management experience. I saw an add in EN24 looking for writers, so I contacted Riverini and signed up. I wrote and got into the political opinion pieces and editorials. I think my first big article was one where I took aim at The Mittani.
So, that put you on the map, as it were?
Yeah, I think so. So, I started Salivan (prior EIC) with day to day and some stuff and so when he stepped down Riverini asked if I would step up.
As EIC, what was your routine like? What was a ‘day in the life of Johann’?
Every day was sort of a wide range of things but basically consisted of the following:
- I would wake up/start my day on Discord, [and] would have at least 20 DMs from people. Some would be sources I have for intel and stories. Some would be potential writers and staff. A lot would be from my staff for various things. And also my sponsors and people who provided EN24 with income. And then several from riverini as coordinated the management of the site. So, spend anywhere from 1 to 2 hours in those convos.
- Then I would scan Reddit and the other sites, [to] see if anything interesting is going on that we were not aware of. If so assign a writer.
- Then I would speak with the editors and staff about articles that are being written. If the editors had finished their review of an article then they would come to me and I would assign a time for the article to be published to the site.
- Other than that I might write something or monitor traffic and analytics. Approach new sponsors for funding. And interface with CCP when needed.
Did you get any personal reward for running it?
So, the site generates a little real money from ads, but all of that goes back into paying for the site. Whatever is left over riverini banks and then usually uses to help send a staff member to EVE Vegas or Fanfest. As far as ISK if there was some left over after paying the staff then I might take a small amount but it’s like maybe over 6 months I paid myself maybe 5 billion total. Almost all the ISK goes to the writers.
What kind of traffic did you get, in return for all this work?
During the slow months of summer, we would do 300k [views]. During the busier months we do 800k to 1m hits. Unique visitors are about 60k to 80k.
You mentioned Reddit a little while back – do you think that media organisations have a clearly discrete role from /r/Eve?
Yes. So, compare it to the real world. Reddit is completely unfiltered and unregulated other than the mods enforcing the thread rules. It’s also very susceptible to group think. If a post is grr Goon, it will upvoted even if it’s biased and wrong. If an anti-TEST post is put up then it will get downvoted.
So, media is the voice of moderation?
Not so much but put it this way. A good post of news might never be seen cause it’s unpopular. Reddit will just downvote it. At least with INN, EN24 [and] CZ the stories can’t be downvoted off the front-page cause one side of EVE doesn’t like them. Doesn’t mean the news sites are not biased – of course they are. But on Reddit, if a post is not liked by a large group it can be pushed down to where it’s never read by the rest of EVE.
You mentioned getting information from contacts? How does that work? For one thing, how does one get contacts?
I have played the game for like 7 years hard-core. I started in 08 but I didn’t really start playing for real until 2011. Over that time from being an alliance intel director, diplo, CEO, fc and other jobs I have made friends and gotten to know people. Allows me to build a network I can reach out to. Also built a reputation that meant it I could approach someone or needed to get ahold of someone I knew someone who knew them.
What advice would you give to any aspiring EVE journalists out there?
So a few things:
- It’s not the Washington Post. You don’t need have to be some professional journalist to do it. If you want to write about EVE happenings, if you want to influence opinion, if you have an opinion you want to get out, or a story to tell – then do it.
- You don’t have to be perfect – all three sites have editors who can help clean up article.
- Also, don’t be afraid to go write for a place that you may not agree with. EN24, CZ will employ writers from all walks of life. I believe INN would do the same.
Why do you think EVE media is interesting?
So, I’ve always loved the fact that everything about EVE is bigger and the stories are so deep. I love how a single person can have effect across the entire universe. And the complexity…I mean the fact that this game has its own media empires and political ethos is stunning and a credit to what makes EVE a truly great game. And I don’t say media empires to be dismissive.
Do you think media has significant influence?
So people make fun of INN, calling it a ‘multi-dollar empire’ or EN24 being biased against Goons etc. But the truth is it’s a true reflection of the real world. And both add significantly to the game. All the media sites will put out articles that are basically straight reporting. But each site also has a core group who they speak to. Much like Fox and CNN. So there are the opinion pieces that take a side. And they absolutely can and do effect the game. The Imperium uses INN to shape their narrative and control ‘their story’. And EN24 does that as well. And in my book there is no issue with what INN or EN24 does, because this game is about ‘my tribe, my side’.
Do they not get caught in echo chambers?
Yes, there is that danger. But I would say both sides have been known to report opposing views and are not afraid of them. To be real, we don’t play this game to be all friends and all hold hands. I respect what INN and The Mittani have done all these years. It has literally given me a ‘foe to passionately fight and care about beating. Whether you hate Goons because they are supposedly scammers or PL cause they are elitist etc, it’s these emotions that drive people to really fight and care. And because the emotions are real and built over the years it makes New Eden just as real.
Do you have any final comments/thoughts to make?
Hm…This game is all about tribalism, empires, teams, community and drawing a line in the sand box. So it’s ok to pick a side. It’s ok to have an opinion or support your side…at the end of the day we’re here to fight for our team and story. That’s why when I hear these ‘biased’ or fake news I laugh…let’s be real, we all play a game about spaceships in a simulated universe. It’s the passion, bias and narrative that makes it real. The media sites play a part in that and add to the experience.