At PAX East, we gathered in the Arachnid theater to listen to the challenges of the journalism industry from some of the insiders.
Panelists included: Justin McElroy with Polygon, Dale North with Destructoid, Kyle Orland with Ars Technica, Jason Schreier from Kotaku, Dennis Scimeca as freelance, and Alexander Sliwinski with Joystiq.
How Was Starting Out?
All writers admitted to being dazzled by the industry. Reviewing games before they were released and talking to developers and creators is an extremely exhilarating experience, especially for the newbies. So when reality struck and the trolls began commenting on their work and giving them flak, Sliwinski admitted that the criticism was unexpected.
E3 was a big moment for most of the panelists as the gleeful feeling of being around all these new games and fun toys fades into the feeling of having to try a game first simply because the readers want to know about it, or spending hours in a press room covering breaking news.
All of them hung strongly on the point that this is a business, and most of the time these fun events are work for them.
What is the Biggest Challenge?
The most challenging part of being a video game journalist is “easily the politics. Especially when a really nice carrot comes along, it’s easy to fall into a trap.”
Speed is another issue where writers want to baby their articles, but breaking news has to go out quickly and not every piece of content can be babied.
Playing bad games, of course, is an awful aspect. “90 minutes in and you’re like, ‘it’s like this the whole time!'”
Fake stories, photoshops, and other false leads are also annoying and challenging, especially when time is spent chasing these leads that go nowhere.
Keeping up with the current news is another challenge. Feeling pressure to play every game and know everything about it is overwhelming.
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