GameSkinny's Journalist Training Program: Come Write Over!

Have you ever wondered what it's like writing about video games? I did... and that's all I did. Wonder. Until I jumped right in.

Four straight months of rollercoaster GameSkinny reporting is drawing to a close, and the first iteration of GameSkinny's semester-long Journalist Training Program (JTP) is beginning to wind down.

Phew!

Having weathered five phases/editions and the various transformations of the GameSkinny Internship since its inception earlier this year, I can safely say this has been at once the easiest and the hardest version of them all.

Is that mixed up? Not to me.

Then and Now

The early versions of the program broke us all up into groups of about four or five, with very specific extra jobs - leading, editing, social media, and extra writing, designated to each person. We were very insulated; aside from our team members, we didn't know anything about the other teams except that they were some hovering, nebulous competition. We begrudged GameSkinny every single view that wasn't ours and ours alone.

And that doesn't sound right, does it?

Phase by phase, the teams opened up and we began learning more about some of the people behind those team banners. In this version, the focus had shifted to individual performance and an interactive landscape for the entire body of people involved in the program. It wasn't "us or them," it was "we are all getting better," and we had begun to realize that.

Now, how is it easier? In groups, your experiences tend to veer towards the extremes - you will find yourself with either great teams or horrible teams. At the worst, I would find myself coming home at 7-8 in the evening after a full day of working to find that someone (if not two people) on my team had begged out for the night and I would have to write 2-3 articles by midnight in order to meet our daily count. I didn't have to worry about that this time around - I had my own assignments and deadlines and nobody else's.

But that's hardly smooth sailing. There was no group to help me do my promoting - and we are in this program to help generate steady traffic for GameSkinny, not the other way around. That fell squarely back on me.

And it was long! Four months is a long time to be writing something each and every business day, especially if you are juggling two other jobs as well like I am. Throw in the usual things that will happen in life, particularly with a grueling schedule (overworking, getting sick, computer problems, etc.) and you can how things can get a little nightmareish.

So why do it?

The number of internship programs and experiences like this rapidly shrinks once academics are taken out of the picture. The moment you're out of school, the working world automatically assumes you've got everything set - and we all know that is not true.

Don't misunderstand - Katy and the GameSkinny team get it. Life happens. Some of my experiences are more of a testament to my tendency for overworking myself rather than the demands of the program. All you have to do is let them know. 

They aren't slave drivers. But they have standards.

I signed up for this. It wasn't always exactly what I thought I was getting into, but it was something I could do - and do well. I'm here because I like writing, I like video games, and I want to write about video games.

And now I am!

I'm not perfect. But I have made marked improvement in my writing, in my social media presence, and my ability to speak my mind. I'm proud of that. And now I have a clearer idea what I want to do, what I can do, and what it takes to get there.

I'm proud of that too.

So, should you?

Are you reading this because you're thinking of signing up? Do you want to test the waters and consider whether you just want to write a piece every now and again or dive headfirst into creating a body of work?

Do you want to know if GameSkinny's Journalist Training Program for you?

First, think about it this way: it's work.

Does that daunt you? It's hard, grueling work that other people get paid for and you don't. Sure, playing video games is lots of fun... but imagine having to write about ones that you don't know about or care about in the least. On a deadline. And you have to make it interesting

Starting to sound like a book report on War and Peace due next period? That you have to read out loud to the class? And the principal? And your mom? It's not a bad analogy. 

But keep in mind, it's also rewarding. I mean, think of doing that book report... and nailing it. It happens. Then you have written proof of your output; both your successes and shortcomings. You have a collection of articles that you can track your progress and improvements with. And you have a body of work that you can take to a future employer if you want to continue working in this field - not a stack of book reports, but stuff that's gone through an editor and made it out to the public.

Here's something else: it's an opportunity you get here that you can't necessarily get elsewhere - particularly once you're out of school. I didn't realize it at first, but the number of internship programs and experiences like this rapidly shrinks once academics are taken out of the picture. The moment you're out of school, the working world automatically assumes you've got everything set - and we all know that is not true. Not by a long shot.

If you can spare the time and the effort, it doesn't matter how bad you are going in. If you're serious, you'll improve... and you might surprise yourself with the results. 

Whether you want to guest write, join the workshop, or jump straight into the JTP, consider getting started right now and write for GameSkinny! 

(If you're interested in reading/listening to my thoughts on previous iterations of the program, you can check out my past writeups for the Beta Phase and the later Bastion Phase.)

Featured Columnist

Avid PC gamer and long-time console lover. I enjoy sneaking, stealing everything not nailed down, and shooting zombies in the face. I'm also a cat.

Published Jan. 2nd 2014
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    This is the best thing I've done in a long time! JTP ROCKS!
  • Jay A
    Featured Contributor
    Huh. I didn't really know this existed. I've worked in online newsroom environments before, but sounds like this could be helpful, and a good way to meet people around here.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    you should! This round started earlier in the week, but you can sign up any time.
  • Proto Foe
    Senior Intern
    So I heard about this JTP thing....
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    Already signed up. I'm excited and nervous.
  • GameSkinny Staff
    Contributor
    Yeah buddy!
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    Ahhh that's great! I'll be glad to see you on board! :D
  • GabrielKross
    Featured Columnist
    yeeeees yeeeeeeees this will do nicely...

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