So I heard you want to become a professional game journalist?
I normally don’t get into these topics, but some days ago (on Thursday), I went ahead and researched a little bit further on ways to get my site out a little bit more, you know, my dream is to become a recognized and professional game journalist, hopefully at some point be able to make my living out of this, which I’ve been doing since 2011, maybe not on this -my own- site, but around the net on different forums where I’ve been both Editor and Editor in Chief.
Well, I feel like I should share my findings with all of you, in case you’re interested as I am in becoming a professional game journalist; followed by my idea on how to accomplish this.
So, we are all into this for hobby, to use our excess of energy or -in some cases- to give a use to that “dead” time that is around, where you have nothing to do and need to fill that space of time somehow. Others are in this because we have a dream, a dream of becoming known journalists, and to some day be able to make our living out of what we love doing: informing others about what is going on in the gaming industry.
If you want to start at the bottom of the ladder, you’ll have to go in “like a warrior”. You’ll start with no name, no audience, no…nothing, besides your willingness to stay informed about the gaming industry, and to write quality articles, as well as accept the criticism that will come your way.
With this, you can start.
There are plenty of ways to start forging a name for yourself, start visiting well recognized/populated sites, being these simple gaming news sites or even forums. Start getting some followers, social media is quite strong when it comes to this!
When you get a little bit of an audience, you might want to start your own site, given that you like what you’re doing, that you enjoy doing it…and that you can commit to the cause, and separate some time of your busy day to keep your site active.
You don’t stop there, you’ll have to invest…you need your own domain, you’ll need a host, you’ll need maintenance….seriously, nothing is free!
Then there’s the time for you to write, you go ahead and read a piece of news that caught your attention, being this through some RSS Feed, or through an email you get from game developers (in case you’re subscribed), you keep checking social media for something to write about, Twitter is quite awesome for this, who would’ve thought, Twitter, for news, is more used than Facebook!
You do some research, get your facts right (if you are actually providing quality articles…else, you can do what The Sun does…yet, you shouldn’t! Unless you explicitly say that your site is about satires), and then, write your article, with your own words, and if you need to quote something, you quote it and let people know where did you see it…
Now you start getting involved with other people that do the same as you do, each one has his/her own writing style, their own point of view, their own words…But in the end, we’re all doing the same, so we support each other, and you even get to make some friends in this step.
Your audience has grown, hasn’t it? Be sure to keep interacting with them, to show how you appreciate them taking the time to check your content out, because let’s be honest…you love getting the approval of others, getting some attention, even if it comes to one single person, you have to be loyal to that person, because in the end, they will come back if you’ve delivered some good content…and they have some spare time to read!
Sadly, you still aren’t taken seriously as a game journalist by companies…you’re still “another guy/gal that writes about news”. But…what do you need for them to see you as a “real” game journalist? Well, I’ve been given a hint from a staff from a site that dedicates to this, whom has told me that my site is simply a “personal blog” and not an actual “gaming site”; take a look at this:
“So, what would be cataloged as an actual “site” and not a “personal blog”?
I mean, I’m paying the domain name, host and so on. What would be the difference?”
That was my question, to which I got this…sad-for-me answer:
“Including, but not limited to or necisarily required:
1- Having dedicated staff, which use their real names
2- Having your own community of followers and commenters
3- Industry presence and recognition
4- Proper journalist tendencies
5- Providing worthwhile content
Basically you just need to build on what you have now and work to be like the ‘big’ sites. You seem to be off to a good start.”
I do appreciate that I got told I’m on the right track, but seriously…that list…and “be like the big sites”? Seriously?
- Build a name for yourself
- Be able to pay people to work for you as staff…using their real names
- Somehow…get some recognition by the gaming industry experts
- Compete with the sites that have priority for every piece of news by game developers/publishers, who get content before you do and that have the money to travel to every important event, and get interviews with basically anyone they want.
Sounds fair, doesn’t it?
Well…not for me!
How am I supposed to get staff to work with/for me, and for them to use their real names? Most of us don’t use our real names, this requisite seems quite…unimportant and silly for me.
So…out of the nowhere…I need to get recognition, over the gaming sites that do have it all…one single person needs to go against these titans of the industry, without all the benefits they have…that’s…logical…
When I got this information I felt like when you break a glass with a hammer, being the glass your dreams and the hammer the cruel, cruel reality.
How can I (we) get this recognition, when you live in a country where there simply are no important gaming events? Where there’s simply no game journalism at all? How would you be able to go over those well established sites?
I really have no clue, none, at all!
So, I had a thought after I got this information. Why not try to gather interested people to actually fulfill these requirements? I mean, to work together, as a team, bring all of the different content we all normally bring, just….together, on a single site?
There’s plenty of talent around the game journalism, talent that is not getting the recognition it deserves, I’m not talking about me, because well…I’m just another guy who writes news, you know? But about all of the amazing writers I’ve met through my journey, since I started this site.
I might start writing a series about this topic, but that will depend on how “active” this article gets, so let me know your opinions, thoughts, ideas…anything! Either in the comments below, or social media: Facebook, Twitter, G+, Tumblr…anywhere!!
A second entry for the series can be found here.