Proving Myself Wrong: The JTP and Personal Revelations

My time on the Journalism Training Programme developed my writing more than I thought was possible!

I had been doing journalism for over three years, specialising in stage and film, before I saw the advert in a GuildLaunch newsletter for GameSkinny's video games journalism internship.

I thought "Why not?" I've played video games throughout my entire life, enjoying them just as much as my other visual art pursuits. So, with the wealth of both paid and unpaid writing experience across numerous publications to my credit, I decided to try my hand at video games, thinking it would be an easy switch.

I was proved very wrong.

A Different Kettle of Fish and a Different Breed of Audience

I had written for plenty of online publications before, and had knowledge of how to use social media to build a solid audience. I didn't think it would be too different for video games. However, I found that for most of the Journalist Training Program (JTP) I was struggling to build one, experiencing less than 100 views a day, bar the odd spike.

It's a bitter pill to swallow when you approach something with confidence only to find that you suddenly have to accept that your approach isn't working anymore. To make things more complicated, my enthusiasm for covering events such as Comic Con and Eurogamer Expo meant I was never had the time to willingly sit back and properly evaluate how I might change this.

Once I did, I started discussing with editors what types of articles I should try to focus on to build an audience, following tips on how to make more effective use of tags, and learning how to use social media platforms that are more effective than what I've been used to, such as Reddit. These have really helped, and now I'm beginning to see a definite and sustainable growth in my views.

Pushing My Boundaries

The JTP has also made me expand my knowledge of video games and the areas for which I write about, often venturing into unknown and/or uncomfortable territory. Part of this has been done by force through daily assignments. Even though I was sometimes tentative and grumpy at first, I found that even if I was unfamiliar with the subject matter or format, I could still write decent copy if I put my mind to it. The biggest challenge for me was covering eSports, especially the League of Legends tournament at Comic Con.

Once I got past this, I became enthused to broaden my writing and style. Specifically, I have now started to write guides in addition to the reviews and opinion pieces which I'm more comfortable with, and have also started to experiment with video content.

Words, Words, Words

I also found that I have really started to change my style. For theatre and film I was often quite free and "flouncy" with my use of adjectives. I've had to become more straight forward to attract and maintain a gaming audience. Most importantly though, the change was needed because of length - specifically word count.

There is so much more to talk about regarding video games compared to theatre and film. Although these genres share aspects like narrative, aesthetics, and sometimes acting, video games have things like interface and interaction to take into account too. Flowery language was causing my word count to be quite long, and cutting it down was the only way to stop my articles from becoming "tl;dr".

Now, I feel that my writing is clearer, more concise, and more readable than it has ever been.

Surprise, Surprise!

All in all, this has been a challenging four months. The biggest surprise was realising that I needed far more work and development in my writing than I had previously thought. The JTP has not just been about adapting to writing about video games, it has also made me a much better writer overall. There has been turmoil, and, to my shame, the odd tantrum. But this program is something I'm very proud of participating in, and I have seen invaluable growth in myself as a result.

tl;dr picture courtesy of

Featured Columnist

Bearded British game-bear. Likes his JRPGs accompanied with a G&T. Lives in London, UK. Also writes a lot about theatre and film. *jazz hands*

Published Dec. 3rd 2013
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I'm hoping the program will broaden my approach and audience as well. Good read, thanks for sharing.

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