JTP Tip: Don't Be a Boring Reporter, Be a Creative Producer

If you want to make any waves in the industry, you're going to have to be a consistently creative, innovative thinker.

You know what's boring? News.

Or rather, it's boring to see the same news delivered in very much the same fashion, over and over and over. As there are hundreds of gaming-oriented websites, and still more sites that aren't necessarily game-centric but still run industry news, the same story gets repeated a zillion times.

I've talked about the importance of secondary reporting before, and why it's an essential skill for any blossoming digital journalist. However, in your everyday work, you're going to come across a ton of information that needs to be delivered to the reading public.

Your problem will always be that the public has received said information in a dozen different ways. And now, you need to make it a dozen and one.

Innovative content gets results

The idea goes well beyond secondary reporting. This also includes thinking for yourself and delivering content that gamers will gravitate toward. This means diving deeper beneath the surface and coming up with something fresh. Because so many other journalists are trying to do the same thing, you need to one-up the competition by thinking outside the box. What gets the best results? SEO-rich headlines that involve trending topics are typically a safe bet, but there has to be new ways of presenting the basic information, too.

Use your tools. Use social media to spread the word about a different angle you noticed in the story. Use whatever community of which you're a part; get them talking about a point that other reporters may have missed. Above all else, when you're trying to be creative, don't cloud the truth and don't start making things up. Just stick with the facts and be as creative as possible; it's not about bending those facts, it's about making 'em sparkle in fresh new ways.

Look at what's frequently used, and tweak it

Everyone does reviews. Everyone does op-eds. But what if you did a review that...I don't know, rhymed? What if you did an editorial about a hot piece of news that referenced something personal? Human interest stories, regardless of the industry, always have a chance of hitting big. How much of yourself are you willing to put into your work? How often are you willing to put yourself out there? These are questions you have to answer before tweaking the news to make it more attractive to a group of people who already have the core facts.

Another great way to get noticed is to take that information and immediately start asking questions. For instance, remember when the news broke that Final Fantasy Versus XIII had become Final Fantasy XV? The news spread like wildfire and everyone had a wide variety of responses. However, not enough people focused on the why. It would've been interesting to see more well-researched articles concerning the reasons why this transition occurred. How was development faring? What snags did it hit? Whose decision was it to make the change?

Those all become new headlines, by the way. Remember, be creative. Be innovative. Think. It only begins with reporting the news.

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.

Published Sep. 29th 2014

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