This morning, an email from a Huffington Post reporter made its way to my attention and it had a simple question: How did Polygon, an outlet that often championed diversity, find itself in a list — namely, the jury list for the upcoming Game Awards — of mostly, almost entirely, men? The answer is as boring as it is pernicious: I didn't notice or think to ask. I sent the following statement over to HuffPo:
I did not know the makeup of the voting jury when I agreed to participate. Either I have, or someone on my team has, represented Polygon at The Game Awards, and before that the VGAs, since the site began. While the gender imbalance in video game journalism as a whole is certainly not a new challenge, it is a challenge that we have to remain committed to taking on, as evidenced by this list.
It's not enough to simply acknowledge the imbalance. While many editors on staff participated in selecting Polygon's nominations, and many will similarly participate in selecting our final vote in each category, I've asked Geoff to replace Polygon's jury spot with Megan Farokhmanesh, our deputy managing editor, who was already contributing to this process for us. As juror, she will ultimately decide how we cast our final vote.
Diversity is important to us at Polygon, and while it's a goal we're actively working towards, we have room to improve. Similarly, when we work with organizations like The Game Awards, we have to hold them to that same challenge. I look forward to working with Geoff and his team on how we can do better.
Our colleagues at Kill Screen were also dismayed at the realization and opted to not participate in the event at all. Here's the statement founder Jamin Warren gave to Huffington Post:
I'm including both statements here since the Huffington Post story doesn't.
I completely respect and applaud Kill Screen's decision. To answer the question before it comes up, we're choosing to remain in the jury pool and participate because I think we can make more of a difference from the inside than the outside. We can choose to respond to observations like this one — a panel is composed almost entirely of men — with a solution: Get more women on that panel. So that's what we're doing, and I hope others follow.