Ask The Freelance Dude #3 – A New Journalism Beat


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I am a former music journalist and avid gamer, who now works in the gaming industry, and is looking to get into writing about games. With both being entertainment industries, I imagine there are parallels in the various types of stories for games as those I’ve written on music (i.e. reviews, Q&A/interviews, event coverage, “up-and-coming”/featured promoting). Given the critical, passionate and brilliant minds of our fellow members of the gaming community, I expect to meet a high standard with my articles, but am intimidated by the transition. What skills do you recommend I can draw from, with my previous experience, in order to be successful in this type of journalism?

Signed
Michelle Q.
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Dear Michelle,

Find comfort in the fact you’re not alone. Transitioning from a different journalism beat into writing about games is nerve-wracking until you get a feel for the landscape. The good news is you already have a head start over someone who’s just getting into game journalism for the first time without any prior writing experience, since many of the skills you’ve picked up along the way are equally valuable when applied to gaming-focused writing.

Take the art of interviewing, for example. In face-of-face interviews, being able to think on the fly, be comfortable and professional, connect with your subjects, and ask intelligent question that elicit interesting responses takes practice and skill. Whether you’re interviewing rock bands or game developers, the same principals apply – you just have to tweak your approach to match the industry you’re writing for. The same goes for writing features, reviews, previews, and other forms of coverage.

The best way to get a feel for writing in any new beat is to be a sponge. Read as many different gaming mags and websites as possible, and pay close attention to the way each outlet writes up different kinds of game coverage. Use that as a compass to get your bearings, and then tailor your own writing to fit. Your own natural style will shine through as you grow more comfortable.

When you get down to it, good writing is good writing. If you’ve got solid writing chops to begin with and have a knack for stringing together words in a way that’s entertaining, then you’re already in better shape than a lot of folks seeking to dive into game journalism. Kudos for aiming high from the get-go, but also don’t forget to give yourself a little leeway to grow early-on.

Best,
The Freelance Dude

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Follow @nmeunier on Twitter for more writing advice, game industry commentary, and freelance shenanigans.

Have a writing, freelancing, or game journalism related question you’d like answered? No problem! Hop on over here for details on how to submit it to The Freelance Dude!

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