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How to be a Videogame Journalist

by Stephanie Duchenne (Panda McBearface)  Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:51:09 PM

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I was extremely lucky in that my job as an e-journalist is a result of an online friendship that evolved into a most lovely boss/employee relationship and an incredible amount of job/life satisfaction. I thought I would spread these feels by giving you a definitive guide to the profession so that you can also do what I do and be as happy as me, because I’m nice like that.

 I’m pretty sure that a lot of you are very jealous because pretty much just my job title alone is the greatest thing on Earth. Other perks include being paid to play videogames, getting to troll for a living and also occasionally having access to a 100Mb Internet connection, which I only found out the other day is actually a real thing (although we don’t call it a “mainframe” in the videogames bizz).

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However, that up there is a pretty broad description and I’m pretty sure that some of you are wondering what we e-journalists actually do on any given day. So I’ll tell you that it’s pretty glamorous. When we’re not jet-setting around the world from one gaming expo to another, we’re getting free stuff because people want us to write nice things about them. A typical workday consists of large amounts of time browsing silly stuff on the internet, because really, that’s research for our pieces; and good journalists always research.  So.

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Ah, the perks of being an e-journalist.

I know that all of those things sound fun, but my job can also be quite stressful. In all honesty though, it’s hard for me to think of things that I don’t enjoy about my job  (and for hippies like me who are all about doing stuff for happiness as opposed to capital gain, that’s just right) so this will be a very short list:

Meeting tight deadlines can be very terrifying especially on a slow news day when you are suffering from the mental constipation known as “writer’s block”.

Other miscellaneous rules of e-journalism include:

1. It is extremely important that you are current in your knowledge of the gaming world. You’re working in something that involves technology and since something new comes out of that field approximately every six hours, you should be refreshing your browser pretty much constantly.

2. You have to be involved in the gaming community you are writing about. Yes, many gamers are vain creatures (and we’re all looking for our 15 minutes of fame if we’re honest), but it doesn’t help anything if you get someone to agree to an interview and then ask questions like:

“Do you think more players would stay loyal to your clan if you gave them small, cute baby animals, like red pandas, as gifts?”

I myself have made that elementary mistake and I will tell you that people don’t take you seriously when you do stuff like that. You also can’t write about a community when you don’t know anything about its workings and hierarchies or upcoming events; or about players to watch as up and comers. So it is in actual fact a serious job.

3. The amount of care you have about a particular game or related will come through in what you write; and in general, the more excited you are, the more excited you can make other people be. As you can see, I’m pretty excited about what I’m writing here because the finished length of this article is 979 words (and you’re halfway through now so you may as well finish reading).

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E-journalism is clearly a profession made almost entirely of win; and I know that you’re slavering for a taste of what it’s like to be me, so I have considerately included a snippet of conversation from the MWeb e-office as an amuse bouche:

[08:36:34 AM] Stephanie: Just gonna go hang up washing, is that cool?

[08:40:14 AM] Brad: Pics or it never happened

[08:41:07 AM] Stephanie: Well, ok

[08:41:16 AM] Stephanie: But also, I typed that in the wrong place

[08:41:36 AM] Stephanie: But one must acknowledge the fact that I did like 20kgs of washing by hand

[08:41:38 AM] Brad: It’s ok, you can air your dirty laundry here if you so wish

[08:41:44 AM] Stephanie: xD

[08:41:47 AM] Brad Kirby: :O

[08:41:50 AM] Brad Kirby: Do you do windows?

[08:41:52 AM] Stephanie: Well, it's clean now. So.

[08:41:57 AM] Stephanie: Once a week

[08:42:08 AM] Brad: Do you need another job?

 [08:42:39 AM] Stephanie: Well, I'm not sure how much window cleaners get paid

[08:42:47 AM] Stephanie: And do we have a union?

[08:43:04 AM] Brad: Oh hell no

[08:43:17 AM] Brad: And the pay sucks too, but the benefits are amazing

[08:44:03 AM] Stephanie: As many potatoes as I can eat?

[08:44:13 AM] Stephanie: In 1000 days and a night?

[08:44:41 AM] Brad: Not what i was thinking, but it’s a good start

[08:45:33 AM] Stephanie: A golden-armoured badger for me to ride on?

[08:45:40 AM] Brad: THAT’S MORE LIKE IT

[08:46:49 AM] Stephanie: I'm in.

[08:47:28 AM] Stephanie: Especially if the golden-armoured badger is pulling a tiny golden cart filled with as many potatoes as I can eat in 1000 days and a night.

[08:48:16 AM] Stephanie: Also, I should prolly go hang up my washing instead of engaging in these whimsical flights of fancy with you Bradley.

[08:48:23 AM] Stephanie: I know there's no badger ;(

[08:48:28 AM] Brad: ;(

I’m sure that you are now pretty confused. So to clear all this up and answer the question “what does an videogame journalist actually do?”:

 The above is probably closer to the truth. We're kind of like clowns but without the funny wigs (this hair is all real) and also just a smidgen less creepy (some of us). So if you can say many stupid things and have a reasonable knowledge of syntax and punctuation, you should probably consider e-journalism as a possible career-path. Also, I made up that stuff about jetsetting, but you do get to go to rAge sometimes which is still pretty cool.

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Stephanie's Twitter / MWEB Gamezone Twitter | Facebook

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd



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