From Wannabe to JTP - My JTP Experience
Before the Journalist Training Program, I never considered myself a writer.
I was first and foremost a design school kid, who happened to be minoring in media studies - a weird hybrid of journalism and PR. When it was time to find an internship for said minor, I scoured my school’s job postings to find something interesting. Amongst the listings for stuffy office jobs and non-profit work, the phrase “video games” shined like a beacon of hope. Hoping my extensive video game knowledge and above-average writing skills would be enough to qualify, I applied and, lo and behold, got in.
You’re a Journalist, Harry!
The first day of the program, I woke up early, got dressed and was ready to write. Please note that this was also officially the last day I got dressed for work, as PJs quickly became my new writing attire. Unlike my past internships, the JTP allows me to work from home – or more specifically my bed.
Not gonna lie, it’s a pretty great feeling to see something you’ve written published online. It’s an even better feeling when that published something is on the front page. That’s the awesome part about GameSkinny – people actually read your stuff. Sure, I have a personal blog and sometimes I write things there, but on GameSkinny, I’m a *real* writer with a real audience. That exposure comes with perks too. Since I started writing for GameSkinny, my Twitter following has grown and I’ve been asked to participate in things like podcasts and streams.
My claim to JTP fame was an article titled The Flappy Bird Survival Guide: Tips, Tricks, and Cheats for Improving Your High Score. It’s exactly what it sounds like. After hearing everyone and their mother bemoan the fact the Flappy Bird was the most impossible game in the world, I decided to write a little guide to ease pain. That "little" guide blew up and currently has over 160k views.
While I do wish that those views were for an article on a game I actually care about (sorry Flappy Bird), the success of that post did teach me the importance of timing, keywords and SEO – tools I couldn’t have fully grasped if it weren’t for the JTP and its director, the wonderful Katy Hollingsworth.
The Cake(walk) is a Lie
If I’m making the JTP sound like it’s all fun, games, and publishing, it’s because I haven’t yet touched on how much work it can be. We’re expected to write an article a day, five days a week, on top of a weekly challenge. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot, but many of us have school or jobs or lives, that can get in the way. As a full-time student with a part-time job and a crappy immune system, I regretfully missed a few of my own daily articles. Thankfully, the program is very forgiving. Time management is key however, and something I fully intend on working on in this next round.
Speaking of which…
Because I’ve had such a great experience in the first round of the JTP (and partly because I need school credit) I’ll be carrying on to the next round. I said I used to never consider myself a writer, but now I do. The JTP has not only helped me to become a better writer, but it's given me the confidence to see a future for myself in game journalism. I love video games, I love writing, and I love the JTP for giving me such a great opportunity to embrace all those things.