Tuesday, 27 May 2014

How To Get Into Gaming Journalism

This journalist is happy because he has enough money to buy a stock photo, unlike me!

Gaming Journalism is a job that many people dream of. A job where you can spend all your time playing games and writing about them. A job where you travel to places like Germany and Australia to go to the latest events. A job that grants you exclusive access to things that the public can't see. Still, it involves a lot of time, writing and hard work, so instead of just telling you tips from me, a 13 year old kid who hasn't even scraped the surface of gaming journalism, I've enlisted the help of 3 of the finest video game journalists I know: Jon Hicks, Editor of Official Xbox Magazine UK, Luke Albiges, Deputy Editor of Play Magazine, and Tom Bramwell, Editor-In-Chief of Eurogamer. Bring on the advice!

The first bit of advice is that if you want to be successful, you can't just report the news. As Tom Bramwell says, "At Eurogamer we really value originality and clarity in our content. If you're able to to uncover an interesting story and tell it in a way that makes it appealing to the broadest possible audience, that's exciting to us.". Whether you want your articles to be informal, comedic, sarcastic or anything else, knowing your own style and exploiting it really helps to attract more readers.

The next bit of advice is to use social media to your advantage. Anything from Twitter and Facebook to LinkedIn and Youtube can be helpful in garnering viewers and supportings of your website, publication or pigeon mail. Luke Albiges says "Posting links to sites such as N4G can help bring in a bit more traffic, while clever use of social media can also be really helpful.". Bramwell agrees, saying that "A good knowledge of social networks and how to use them to your advantage is helpful.", while Jon Hicks explains that "I would highly recommend getting on YouTube. That's a huge audience and relatively easy to make money on if you get big enough.".

Photo from, uhhhh.. youtube.com
Next up: start getting into the industry as soon as possible. Albiges exclaims "Starting out young will give you loads of time to hone your craft and really develop your own style.". Bramwell gives advice on the subject, saying "If you're just starting out the best advice I can give is practice a lot, get feedback from people and practice some more.", while Hicks says the same: "The best advice I can offer is to write a lot, get a lot of practice, and always be ready to take criticism and get better.".

Another good tip is to specialize in something. For example, our very own Joe specializes in MMO games, Co-Optimus (A gaming news website) reports on Co Op gaming. Bramwell brings up the point, explaining that "Another good thing we look for more than ever these days is specialists. People who understand the subtleties of MOBAs, MMORPGs or other complex subjects are fewer and further between and this makes them valuable.".

Last of all, you should get trained, either on a course or by making your own blog or project. Hicks says "Having an excellent portfolio to prove your ability is the best way to get any kind of creative job, journalism or otherwise.", and Albiges exclaims that "A [web]site can prove to be a great resource if/when when you come to start looking into paid work, and a couple of really good sample pieces can be enough to land you a job- I can tell you that because that's how I got my first writing gig.". Still, remember that it all comes down to your writing, and, as Bramwell says, "We [Eurogamer] don't turn people down because of a lack of formal training - a good story is a good story". Hopefully, this advice can help you achieve your dream job!

Remember to follow the awesome Jon Hicks (@MrJonty), Tom Bramwell (@tombramwell) and Luke Albiges (LukemonMGJ) on Twitter!

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