Everything You Could Be Doing

I’m a budding journalist in my junior year of college with hopes of getting into the games industry through straight journalism (like IGN, Kotaku, etc.) or PR. I’ve been stressing out as graduation creeps ever closer about what my future may look like… I feel like I’m doing all I can now (I’m an editor at my school’s paper, the president of our Japanese club and an Editor for a video game website called REDACTED) but it still doesn’t feel like enough. Do you have any advice as to what more I could do to try and help myself get a job in the industry post graduation?

Question asked via Twitter DMs @Gameonysus

While this question was asked from a college student perspective my answer is the same for everyone and, damn, this is a long list. Here’s everything you could be doing to build a career in video game journalism and content creation.

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How to Avoid Plagiarism

I’m currently a student at uni and have been writing some articles about anime and video games for my uni’s website. I was tasked mainly to cover reviews on shows and games, my biggest problem as of recently is how am I supposed to avoid being accused of plagiarism and copyright infringement when it comes to reviews and guides for older shows and titles especially games that has been thoroughly explored and covered in detail. Where’s the line is drawn for plagiarism and copyright infringement? at one point I had one of my guides taken down because the editor accused me of plagiarizing said guide from Wiki pages that I only used as point of reference and detailed data for the boss fights and hidden drops.

Asked via email to gameindustryguides@gmail.com

The key to avoiding plagiarism is… to not plagiarize! But accidental plagiarism can occur if you do not have an understanding of what plagiarism is so let’s discuss.

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How to Draw the Line: Your Reputation vs. Your Check

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the website gamejournalismjobs.com, but if you’re not, it’s a site for (usually smaller) gaming sites to post their job listings. It’s a minefield of unreliable and often unpaid work, but that’s not what I’m here to ask about since you’ve already addressed that. It’s not unusual for a site that’s looking to hire writers who “Won’t include politics in their writing,” or staff who want the politics to “Stay out of video games,” which, even as a games industry baby, I know is bs. They usually offer more consistent (still not great) pay than most other sites that have listings on the site, but they’re clearly an environment that fosters a toxic mindset. So on to my question: In a medium and industry where every by-line and post sticks with you, how would you weigh your self-worth against a work environment that might be bad for you and your reputation if it means you get published and paid?

Asked via email to Gameindustryguides@gmail.com

Value yourself and your reputation above all else. You can always find money somewhere else. And if you are gonna sell your soul (not recommended) why would you do it for cheap? On paper this is an easy question to answer but I know this dilemma all too well so let’s get into the reality and the nuance of it.

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Is It Too Late for Me?

I am a near 30’s male… I have attempted a gaming blog but my own personal mental issues with my writing and the possibility of changing careers whilst getting older makes me feel that I am maybe too late. Do you feel there’s a moment where it might be too late to get into games journalism? I have always enjoyed writing about games and have wanted to do it but with no one in particular ‘marking’ or giving feedback on my pieces I worry that I am not improving and as time ticks on it may be a bit too late to reap benefits from sticking to it?

Asked via email to gameindustryguides@gmail.com

I’ve spent my life loving games and would love to work in the industry in any capacity. But I’m getting on in life. To the point where I feel like I’d likely be overlooked for any potential jobs that would traditionally go to a younger, more malleable person worthy of developing into a truly great journo/content creator. Is it too late for me?

Asked via email to gameindustryguides@gmail.com

Both of these questions boil down to the same inquiry: is it too late for me to become a game journalist/content creator? The answer is always no.

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Freelancing While Interning?

 I’ve felt conflicted about pitching freelance articles, since I’m interning at REDACTED (which is a great learning experience but is unpaid) right now and I want to make the best possible impression… I could write on the weekends but I’m already working 40 hours per week plus working on personal things. Should I just suck it up and work more during the weekend to pitch freelance articles or should I only be focused on the internship now? Thanks!

ASKED VIA EMAIL TO GAMEINDUSTRYGUIDES@GMAIL.COM

Don’t feel like you need to work more on top of your 40hr internship. It’s definitely an option but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest it for anyone.

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What Looks Better?: Self Publishing vs. Working for Others

I was wondering how impressive it is to employers to show that I run my own gaming news site and focus on that rather than trying to get a bunch of freelance writing gigs. I’ve been wanting to get a job with an outlet like IGN for years but it seems like I’m not showing off the right stuff, even though I’ve been writing about gaming news, reviews, and even producing my own videos for years. 

asked via email to gameindustryguides@gmail.com

Both. Both is good. Now that the short answer is out of the way, let’s get to the nuance.

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My Biggest Piece of Advice for College Students

Question: “What is your biggest piece of advice for a college student who wants to enter the industry?

asked via Instagram.

Start now.

Start a portfolio website, start a blog, start a YouTube channel, start a podcast, stream on Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, go to conventions, get business cards, send pitches, play a lot of games, try to get a freelance gig writing news (or being in freelance rotation for reviews etc), read things about games, read things that are not about games, study the industry, set goals, and overall just got for it.

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A Working Introduction

Welcome to my new blog: game industry guides! Here, I’ll answer the most frequently asked questions I get about video game journalism and content creation to the best of my abilities and post advice on things I’m rarely directly asked about (such as leveraging social media) but that are equally – if not more – important. So here’s a bit about who I am, why I’m doing this, and why you should follow along.

Continue reading “A Working Introduction”

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