Jtp  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Jtp  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network JTP Jingo Session - The Intern Experience https://www.gameskinny.com/bql6n/jtp-jingo-session-the-intern-experience https://www.gameskinny.com/bql6n/jtp-jingo-session-the-intern-experience Mon, 16 May 2016 03:30:01 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

The Journalist Training Program (JTP) here at GameSkinny is all about giving anyone real experience in journalism, and online publishing. With skilled and knowledgeable editors, content management systems, and a whole bunch of people who are willing to help, anyone can join!

With the Jingo session at an end, some of our illustrious and fantastic Junior Interns shared their thoughts on the 9-week program.

Jeffrey Rousseau

After graduating recently, I found that the JTP really did help out with focusing my efforts. The session really does provide a great basis for journalism in general. The most important thing that it has given me is experience. Experience is so valuable to have and I appreciate that we have the opportunity. I have to admit I really enjoyed the advice emails for our weekly goals. It’s certainly helped me think of my evergreen titles especially. Writing is easy enough but writing with no direction is driving with no map.

The JTP session wasn’t without its rough patches though. I encountered times when my articles were taken, even after being claimed in the Content Directive (CD). Other times I got frustrated was when I would have articles sitting the lobby for nearly 48 hours. I understand the editors have their hands full and it’s a lot of articles to edit. Still, I might not like that but it goes with the territory.

At first, I panicked to think I wouldn’t be able to create 5 weekly articles of any kind. Yet, here I am weeks later and it’s smooth as clockwork. I really feel my writing has evolved, now that I have a space to put it in. I wasn’t very pleased with my view count, but it’s all a learning process. I realized that all articles need to be promoted accordingly and have a catchy title. When it comes to gaming news, now I immediately think about primary source.

I’m coming back for more JTP goodness!

Benjamin Hernandez

I was a little skeptical about starting the JTP session, especially after the first week just being news articles for the most part. Then week-on-week it grew and grew, and I really enjoyed the different assignments we were given.

The different personalities of editors and mentors helped get different perspectives on the same articles, which was great. The knowledge that was available was extremely helpful, and not only is my writing better it has gotten faster too. I have a better understanding of how to get the information I need, and express it in my articles.

Damien Smith

I have loved every minute of the JTP. It has been a real learning experience, that covers a large array of different forms of articles and in great detail. Before participating in the JTP, I was very much someone who just stuck with writing reviews, and the occasional news article and listicle.

Since the JTP, I am now confident to write in all forms of articles from news, reviews, op-eds, and even guides. Interviews were always something I was very much nervous of, as I am not the most socially confident individual. The program has helped bring me out of my shell and gave me the confidence needed to get out there, and interact with the industry.

It teaches you everything you need to know about video game journalism. You just need to work towards improving your writing in every way possible. The program has something new for everyone to learn, as it covers so much. The entire team, both the GameSkinny staff and the mentors, have all been extremely helpful and friendly to work with.

I couldn't ask for a more supportive team. I can't recommend the JTP highly enough. If you want to bring your writing skills to the next level, the JTP is an absolute must. My writing has improved considerably over the nine weeks of the program. I can't wait to return for another lesson.

Mark Elgie

When I first heard about GameSkinny's JTP, I was intrigued. I was strongly considering completing an internship there. At the same time, though, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle it. 5 articles a week

Then I actually went in, with a bunch of other people, and did the work -- I loved every minute of it. If there was something I wasn't sure of, I just asked about it and received an answer. It was great.

It wasn't the smoothest of a ride, but I got to write about a topic that I love, and about games that I love even more. So if you're a gamer, you love writing, you have no excuse. You owe it to yourself. Give it a go. You won't regret it.

Junae Benne

I loved my session in the JTP with GameSkinny. It exposed my weak points within video game journalism. I appreciate all the Senpais that helped out on this journey. They will tell you exactly what you did wrong and allow you to fix your mistakes.

This method worked the best for me, because I like to see what I did wrong so I learn from my mistakes. I loved that I could receive extra help pretty much around the clock, because someone was available and willing to help out. I appreciate that within JTP I was allowed to branch out and take on any project, and receive the encouragement needed to complete said project.

The amount of knowledge that is in this program is overwhelming, but in a good way. Any and everything you want to know about video games, video game journalism, and how to start your journalism career, the people of the JTP know it. They are the plug, take advantage of this program ASAP.

Joshua Potter

I learned about GameSkinny's JTP program from a friend, and couldn't be happier with having joined. Everyone has been very considerate and I love being able to read feedback on my work. The world is full of people ready to give you criticism, but it's not often that you can actually find an entire site dedicated to offering something constructive, with the sole purpose of helping you to succeed.

Everyone who has ever given me feedback on any of my work has been very helpful, and concise in what needed to be fixed. They also praise the work I've done well, showing me what needs improvements, and what I should continue to use in order to strengthen my writing.

I feel like I'm coming out of this experience with a lot more confidence about my writing, and have a very clear idea of what it is I can do to continue to work on. The JTP, and it's amazing community, have really helped me put goals in front of myself to continue my writing. I honestly couldn't be more proud of being accepted into this opportunity.

Thank you to everyone above for the feedback, and being such great sports!

But that's not everything!

As a returning Senior Mentor myself, I have had a great time also bringing my skills higher than before. Not only with my writing, but with SEO, social media promotion, and even editing experience. Yep, GameSkinny let me edit things -- Yes, I know they are crazy, and that's why I keep coming back.

David Fisher also asks that you bring some tissues, as I tend to get wet eyes fairly often -- we are a considerate bunch. David is now a Freelancer here at GameSkinny. This could be you too.

I, along with others, will be joining the next session, codenamed Kiwi. If you want a delicious dose of ripe games journalism learning, then take a bite and apple apply now!

If you don't think you're good enough, who are you? Because I want to prove to you that you can do it!

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JTP Guide: Who to follow on Twitter for the best news leads https://www.gameskinny.com/i8wwf/jtp-guide-who-to-follow-on-twitter-for-the-best-news-leads https://www.gameskinny.com/i8wwf/jtp-guide-who-to-follow-on-twitter-for-the-best-news-leads Tue, 05 Jan 2016 10:13:32 -0500 BlackTideTV

During my original session here in the Journalist Training Program (JTP) I found that grabbing news articles was extremely easy. Within ten minutes of waking up and flicking through Twitter, I could find 2 or 3 great stories to write about. Unfortunately, from what I gathered in Slack and the Forums, nobody else was as lucky. 

Twitter can be one of two things: an epic source of information, or an epic waste of time. There are a ton of great people to follow like developers, game pages, other news sites... There is also a ton of horrible, time wasting people to follow such as meme accounts.

What it really comes down to is what you use Twitter for: business or personal. That being said, I used Twitter for personal reasons for years before beginning the JTP, and I didn't change a thing when I started the program. That's just the type of Twitter user I am I suppose.

So who do you want to follow for the best news leads? I choose to follow these accounts for my own personal entertainment and enlightenment, but you can take the premise and apply it to your own choice of games/devs/etc.

Fair warning: this article will contain a ton of Twitter handles. Luckily for you, I made a neat list on Twitter that you can find here.

Let's start with news for a specific game. For example, Assassin's Creed news. 

Who should you follow on Twitter for the most breaking Assassin's Creed news?

  1. The game page - @AssassinsCreed
  2. Any variation on the game page (sometimes they post differently or sooner based on time zones) - @Assassins_UK
  3. The main development studio - @Ubisoft
  4. Lead Game Developers (if applicable - I don't follow any lead devs for Creed but, for an example: as far as Call of Duty goes, I follow @MichaelCondrey and @DavidVonderhaar)
  5. Systems the game will be available on - @PlayStation, @Xbox, etc

Now let's talk about news from other news sources.

Ever heard that old saying, "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?" Time to take it literally. Jump on Twitter and follow all of the big gaming news guys, all of the little gaming news guys, that one random dude that had that great tip that one time, everyone.

Start with @IGN, @Polygon, @gamespot, and any others that you know of. Don't just stick with online gaming journalists. Go after TV talk shows and their hosts - @reviewsontherun, @epdailytv, @Victor_Lucas, @ScottCJones, etc. Don't stop there! Does the entertainment journalist at your local paper have a Twitter? Follow her! 

Remember: following other news sources can be a great source of information, but you'll often come across other news articles. You can create your own articles by taking their info and combining it with other sources, but plagiarism isn't tolerated to... well... anyone really.

Don't forget to follow @GameSkinny!

Let's lighten the mood. Following merchandisers and product manufacturers.

Make sure you're following all of the places that sell video games and related content! You never know when you'll have to write about an awesome deal. Here is a taste of who I follow:

  • @Walmart
  • @EBGamesCanada
  • @StaplesCanada
  • @amazongames
  • @Amazon
  • @BestBuy
  • @Gamestop

You might have noticed that the heading for this section said merchandisers AND product manufacturers. Well what's a product manufacturer and why should you care? I'm not talking about the guys that make the game cases! I'm talking about gaming goodies like headsets, capture cards, pro controllers and so on.

For a start, you can follow @ScufGaming, @turtlebeach, @ASTROGaming, @KontrolFreek, and @elgatogaming, but there are too many of these companies to count. Good luck catching them all, Pokemon fans.

The big 3 and other gaming expos.

I hope this one is pretty obvious. Where are the biggest, hugest, most amazing news stories broken each and every year? Gaming entertainment expos. Make sure you follow these guys and when that time of year rolls around you'll have non-stop writing powers. @E3 and @Official_PAX are a good start, but there are plenty more to choose from. Consider more out of the box expos as well such as @Comic_Con.

Sometimes, YouTubers are just in the know.

YouTubers are not to be overlooked (and I'm not just saying that because I am one). A lot of the time they will have strange breaking news or interesting theories that can form an idea.

I'm a big Call of Duty guy when it comes to YouTube (making my own guides, tips and tricks, and camo showcases on a daily basis), so most of my references are Call of Duty based. Again, take the premise and apply it to your own favorite gaming related YouTubers.

Despite my dislike of them, check out @Chaosxsilencer and @OMGitsAliA for good Call of Duty breaking news stories. My personal favorite YouTuber is @Drift0r, who I glean most of my inspiration from, myself. Of course, there are gaming news YouTube pages like @MachinimaETC, but you'll have to find most of them for yourself. 

Don't forget to follow yours truly: @BlackTideTV. While you're at it you might as well throw a YouTube subscription my way as well. ;)

I hate to say it, but sometimes it's beneficial to throw your friends under the bus. 

Follow each other, and any other friends that you know in the industry. Sometimes you can collaborate, sometimes you can find an idea off of someone else's, sometimes you'll notice someone's idea and jump on it faster than they can. All is fair in love and journalism.

That's about it, apart from a few outlying categories:
  • Actors who star in video games.
  • Support Twitters such as @ATVIAssist
  • Cosplay Twitter accounts - believe it or not I've found many a good article through my sources (which I won't be giving away on account of they're too damn unique... and pretty NSFW sometimes).
  • Movie info and review site Twitter pages can sometimes be great for video game news.
  • Finally, follow big brand names like @starwars and @Marvel. They often tweet about upcoming entertainment of any medium - including video games. 

I hope this article helped you to create a better Twitter experience. With any luck your feed no longer consists mostly of meme tweets like mine once did. When used properly, Twitter might be the best source of readily available information in today's society. Good luck article hunting!

Where do you find your news info? Let me know in the comment section!

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GameSkinny's Journalist Training Program Testimonials https://www.gameskinny.com/mzv8j/gameskinnys-journalist-training-program-testimonials https://www.gameskinny.com/mzv8j/gameskinnys-journalist-training-program-testimonials Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:09:07 -0400 GameSkinny Staff

Here is a collection of some of our successful Journalist Training Program veterans and what that have to say about the program and their time with GameSkinny!

Want to learn more about the program? Read all about it on our JTP posting!

Michael Falero

JTP gives a young writer a few very crucial tools: topics to write about, a deadline to worry about, and editorial support to rely on when you need it. These three things eliminate a lot of the roadblocks that new writers often face. It's writing training wheels so you can feel more confident about your job as a writer in the long term.

JTP pushes you to write more content and better content faster than you might feel "comfortable" with. That's how it helps you grow. I needed the deadlines, but I also appreciated the editors and senior interns for their support and their company. GS can make you feel like you belong to a community of writers, and that you're not alone.

Mandie M

The JTP program was, firstly, a breath of fresh air after years of copyediting. At first, I struggled a little bit with my newfound freedom.

It was a little something like this inside my brain: "What do you mean there aren't assigned keywords and lengths? Choose my own topics? Are you nuts?"

But I jumped right into the pool, and lo and behold, I started swimming.

Writing-wise, I learned to tighten up my writing, choose topics, and write to my audience, which is significantly different from writing for my typical audience. It was nice to write a little bit more casually, but my ability to research deeply certainly helped me out quite a bit.

Lauren Puga

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.

I’d say you’d be surprised at what kinds of jobs the JTP prepares you for. Even if you’re not sure about a career in games journalism, you’ll leave the program with so many lucrative skills you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Who knew my experience using Google Analytics and mastering SEO would land me a job in digital media."

Nick Boisson

The JTP is a great start for any aspiring writer to enter the vast domain of games reporting and criticism. The staff is always there to help and -- no matter how good or poor your writing was when you entered -- you will leave the JTP feeling like a professional.

GameSkinny was a great site to help me get back to writing about games.

Michael Arrieta (zoLo567)

The JTP is a great way to get into the video game journalism business. The editors at GameSkinny Will help shape you into a great writer, and teach you what you need to know. They helped me perfect my craft, to the point that my editors did not have to change any of my articles, which they loved. I had come in a seasoned writer, but GameSkinny showed me that there were still things for me to learn to help hone my craft.

Interviewers were able to see the work that I did and were impressed. One thing that the JTP will definitely help teach will be self-editing, which has proven to be a strong skill to have.

Michael Chiu

I think the JTP is a great entry point for people aspiring to be good writers in the video game business.

As many know, gamers are very passionate about their hobby, and the JTP provides an outlet for them to express their opinions and to share their knowledge for just about anything related to video games.

I wish I had more time to participate, and hope to some day get back in. The virtual newsroom is always buzzing with the latest news, gossip, and other exciting tidbits of information in the world of video games, and everyone is very supportive of one another's work.

As for writing, I have definitely improved through JTP, and have since been invited to be a featured writer in a Taiwanese-American Science & Technology journal, writing about consumer electronics/tech and Internet of Things.

Pierre Fouquet

Just do it! It's great fun, loads of great people. Even if you don't think you have the time, it's fine.

[Writing] becomes a thing you want to do in your usual relaxing time, at least for me it did. Give the JTP a shot, because you won't regret it.

Greg McGee (CoatedPolecat)

I used to be a musician and always enjoyed the attention, but more importantly I enjoyed the emotions felt creating that piece of music. Much like writing, I feel like I've accomplished something with each article posted. The feeling of knowing someone may actually enjoy your art, your opinion, your understanding of the industry - that feeling is like none other. That is what draws me to writing.

Through my head-in-the-clouds feelings 'n' all, the JTP kept me grounded. Not to say the editors knocked me down and rained on my parade, quite the opposite. They let me know what I was doing wrong, and how to fix it, daily. Not unlike a teacher, both Jay Ricciardi and Katy Hollingsworth (the only JTP editors [at the time]) were very patient - and still are - with my lack of commas and understanding of proper punctuation.

The importance of taking that extra step shows through so much when writing, from the research you do on the topic to taking time and playing with Google Trends. "What you put in to it, is what you'll get out of it," applies to the JTP, the games journalism industry, and life in general.

Brandon Morgan

The feedback I have received on my work in these past few weeks has earned me some new skills with my writing, plenty on SEO, topic choice, editorials and more. Thanks to the work Katy did with me I am more confident in my writing and with the topics I put stock in. I carefully select the right work that will make an impact with the community. While I can always improve upon this, and intend to, I feel I did quite well getting a grasp on it.

In my time in the JTP, I may not have received the most views or comments, but I’m pretty sure I made some waves in the gaming community. My Titanfall rant earned me plenty of hate-fueled comments and began a war between two sides of the gaming community. With around 400 comments and counting between GameSkinny and N4G, I am quite proud of what I accomplished there.

Elijah Beahm

Thank God for GameSkinny, because I couldn't have found a better place to help me improve my writing and get a new start. The months I contributed here, it was like a breath of fresh air. On most sites, you're either a full-fledged member of the staff, or at best, you can blog independently amongst the community. Beyond that, only a few gaming sites try to encourage new contributors.

The staff were (and still are) all great here at GameSkinny. I got a lot of helpful feedback from everyone, and I still love the approach GameSkinny has taken to games journalism. There's no other site where you can write up an idea and within the day, get free editorial feedback and helpful suggestions, and maybe even end up on the front page.

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Join GameSkinny for the 2015 Journalist Training Program Internship Sessions! https://www.gameskinny.com/crera/join-gameskinny-for-the-2015-journalist-training-program-internship-sessions https://www.gameskinny.com/crera/join-gameskinny-for-the-2015-journalist-training-program-internship-sessions Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:42:15 -0500 GameSkinny Staff

The GameSkinny Journalist Training Program Internship (JTP) is accepting applications for 2016 - click here for the updated 2016 posting!

This program is looking for applicants who want to gain real experience in games journalism online publishing. Participants will work in an online newsroom environment in two-month increments. JTP members who complete one session are allowed to continue on and complete additional JTP sessions.

What do I get out of this?

College students may use the JTP as an internship for credit and the program is suitable for listing as professional experience on a resume. Please note that the JTP is not a paid program and is 100% remote work.

  • A professional referral from the editor in charge of the Journalist Training Program for use on resumes and job applications.
  • The Journalist Training Program qualifies as a college internship for credit. Please indicate your intent to complete the program for credit during your application so we can help you work with your college advisor.
  • The option to apply for a leadership role in the Journalist Training Program in order to earn managerial experience.
  • Consideration for current openings at GameSkinny when applicable.
  • Earn money for views with our new GameSkinny Bounty Program.
Responsibilities:
  • Write 5 articles per week
  • Submit weekly reports of your activity
  • Meet deadlines
  • Help generate interesting and engaging content ideas
  • Interact with the community
  • Work with and encourage other interns
  • Distribute content and help build our (and thus your) audience
  • Communicate with editors and learn how to effectively listen to feedback
  • Be a part of the GameSkinny team!
  • Don't be a jerk - professionalism is one of the skills you are required to learn and practice in this program
Program Requirements: 

Here's how to apply, and what being a member of the JTP will require from you.

  • All applicants are required to fill out an application survey, located at the bottom of this page
  • 15-20 hour time commitment each week for 9 weeks
  • A positive attitude
  • An understanding and love of the Oxford comma (We kid... mostly. The Oxford comma is pretty awesome!)
  • Strong written communication skills
  • The ability to self motivate and work independently & remotely
  • A drive to improve your own abilities
Preferred, but not required:

The following qualifications are great to have, but not required to participate. You do NOT need to be a current or former college student in order to join the JTP.

  • Gaming experience and knowledge of the games industry
  • Degree (working on or completed) in Journalism, English, Communications, Media Criticism, Game Design, or other related field of study
  • Previous writing experience is a huge bonus
  • Writing sample published here on GameSkinny

All Program Dates for 2015

You can fill out an application for any of the upcoming sessions, so long as the application deadline has not yet passed. Each session is named alphabetically (like hurricanes!) and applications are accepted on a rolling basis for each 9-week session. Depending on how many spots we have each session, you might not be accepted into the program until a week before!

  • January 5th - March 6th, [Dodo] Session
    • Application Deadline: January 1st
  • March 16th - May 18th, [Emu] Session
    • Application Deadline: March 10th
  • May 25th - July 24th, [Fox] Session
    • Application Deadline: May 11th
  • August 3rd - October 2nd, [Ghost] Session
    • Application Deadline: July 27th
  • October 12th - December 11th, [Heron] Session
    • Application Deadline: October 2nd

Apply (Jan 5 - March 6)

Apply (March 16 - May 18)

Apply (May 25 - July 24)

Apply (Aug 3 - Oct 2)

Apply (Oct 12 - Dec 11)

Further questions? Email Auverin at Auverin[at]GameSkinny.com with "[JTP]" in the subject line. Do NOT send applications to this email address.

"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."

Lauren Puga, Former JTP Intern, Freelancer at IGN

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JTP Tip: Don't Be a Boring Reporter, Be a Creative Producer https://www.gameskinny.com/cy0qt/jtp-tip-dont-be-a-boring-reporter-be-a-creative-producer https://www.gameskinny.com/cy0qt/jtp-tip-dont-be-a-boring-reporter-be-a-creative-producer Sun, 28 Sep 2014 17:27:37 -0400 Fathoms_4209

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.

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JTP Advice: Turning Big News Into a Flood of Original Content https://www.gameskinny.com/mzxyc/jtp-advice-turning-big-news-into-a-flood-of-original-content https://www.gameskinny.com/mzxyc/jtp-advice-turning-big-news-into-a-flood-of-original-content Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:42:24 -0400 Fathoms_4209

Reporting the news is an essential part of journalism, regardless of your chosen industry. It all begins with the news.

But it's important to remember the word, "begins." In point of fact, especially in the online world, news should be treated as a starting point. Good, productive content creators use that news to create plenty of original content for their website or publication, because they have to.

Why? Anybody surfing the web can find that news anywhere. They'll likely read it at one of the bigger outlets, where it first appeared. If the news is big enough, it will undoubtedly generate plenty of attention but what happens after is what you need to focus on. Big news generates big discussion; everyone is talking about it.

In the immediate interactive world of the Internet, this means you spring into action.

The news is out, now it's time to break it down into every conceivable angle

Within minutes of a huge news break in the world of video games, a ton of consumers are already aware. How are you going to get them to click on your article? If you're only reporting the news - as you should do initially - then you've got nothing new. Once that news is posted, though, it's your responsibility as a go-getter content generator to create a bunch of content related to that news.

For instance, when Grand Theft Auto V was announced for next-gen consoles and PC, the news was plenty big. But if you're going to stand out, you need to start asking questions and write op-eds and editorials based on those questions: Is GTAV on PS4 and Xbox One incentive enough to buy a new system, even if the game itself isn't exactly "new"? Is the ongoing trend of previous-gen games upgraded for next-gen consoles a negative thing? Will it be worth upgrading if a player has already completed the game on PS3 or 360?

Then, after penning the articles, give 'em great, SEO-rich, eye-catching headlines, and you've done your job well.

If you have the means, do the digging and research

Some news might compel you to contact the developer or publisher for more information. Doing so could lead to original content, only it would take the form of more news. The difference is that such news would be unique to you and your site, which is what matters most. So, if a big game gets delayed and the official reason for that delay is either vague or nonexistent, maybe you should pry for a better explanation. You may not get anywhere but hey, it's part of the job.

There are times when even a few minutes of research will uncover new pieces of information that nobody knows. At the very least, that research will probably give you ideas for more related content that builds on the original breaking news. The key it so keep coming up with more ideas, and keep producing content that feeds off huge news. Just remember to keep an eye on the community response; once the novelty of that news begins to wear off, so will the appeal for branching content. For instance, while The Last Of Us: Remastered was hot for a long time, an article on that topic now wouldn't do you much good.

Bottom line: News can be big but unless you're the one to break it, it won't do you much good. You have to be creative and innovative.

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Content Production Advice: You Can't Always Write What You Want https://www.gameskinny.com/tmsz5/content-production-advice-you-cant-always-write-what-you-want https://www.gameskinny.com/tmsz5/content-production-advice-you-cant-always-write-what-you-want Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:35:06 -0400 Fathoms_4209

If you're interested in the not-so-glamourous world of content creation for websites, here's an important tip:

Despite the freedom you have at a place like GameSkinny, you can't always write about what you want to write about.

You will learn a lot if you participate in this site's Journalist Training Program; you'll learn about catchy headlines, SEO, inputting media to boost the attractiveness and reach of the content, etc. It's also critical to remember that you must engage a passionate community that is bound to have feedback. Unfortunately, given the rampant immaturity on the Internet, the vast majority of that feedback will be worthless. But you'll still get an idea as to what works and what doesn't.

And that's the key: What works, and what doesn't

So, let's say you're just a huge fan of role-playing games. That's what you love to  play, talk about, and write about. You join up with GameSkinny and start penning articles. They're a lot of fun to write, you show them to all your friends, and you're proud that they've been published. But then, you check your Dashboard and find that they've been viewed only a few hundred times. You even went out of your way to abide by SEO rules, so what happened?

Simple: You love RPGs but not everyone does and at this point in time, they're not a particularly hot topic of conversation in the community. You'll get some attention for writing about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Dragon Age: Inquisition, but you'd have to tailor those articles to reach a wide audience. Pontificating about how Suikoden was an underrated RPG, regardless of your passionate view on the subject, or lamenting the loss of turn-based mechanics, probably won't get very far.

What you love to write and what you should write are two different things.

Strike a balance between passion and trending topics

Nobody is saying you should never write about your favorite topics. By all means, go right ahead. However, as with anything in life, it's important to find balance. In this case, you should hone your content creation skills by acting as any content professional would: Produce the most eye-catching, far-reaching piece you can. This involves some research but it's easy enough. You'll also learn a lot with each attempt.

The bottom line is that if you do ever land a job that involves digital content of any kind, chances are, you won't always be writing about things that interest you. In fact, you'll rarely pen something that's close to your heart. I know to many of you, the idea of writing for a video game website sounds like play, but it really isn't. It's a job, just like anything else, and even the most avid gamer will find themselves writing content they really don't care about. And if you land a job in another sector, you'll almost always be producing content that doesn't tug at your heartstrings.

Ah, but that's the way of reality, isn't it? ;) For now, just find that balance.

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The Art of Tackling Trending Topics https://www.gameskinny.com/19ho4/the-art-of-tackling-trending-topics https://www.gameskinny.com/19ho4/the-art-of-tackling-trending-topics Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:43:39 -0400 Fathoms_4209

Here at GameSkinny you're given a platform to write about whatever you wish. They also have the excellent Journalist Training Program (JTP), where budding writers can learn the ropes.

As part of the latter, it's important to address the former: That freedom to write whatever you like can result in virtual oblivion. Of course, any good writer knows that what's popular isn't necessarily good and that goes double for this industry, unfortunately. Your extremely well-written, in-depth, insightful piece about the history of video games, while it's a shining example of effort and skill, may not get more than a hundred views.

This is due to a combination of reasons, including SEO and length issues. Here, we discuss why such a great article won't get a fraction of the attention a trending topic will.

A few minutes of research is all you need

It's not complicated. You won't have to spend an hour trying to figure out what's hot and what's not. You'll spot the "hot" in a matter of seconds...that's kinda why it's hot. Just check the trends on social media and Google, and find the games on N4G that rise to the top of the temperature list. Which titles are hitting hardest? Well, for the past few months, it has been The Last Of Us: Remastered and Destiny, and then everything else. Hence, if you were interested in generating a fair amount of traffic, you were writing multiple articles with those games in the title.

You also need to pin down specific trending topics. For instance, we know Remastered was huge but why was it huge? Well, a bit more research would've revealed ongoing arguments concerning the frames per second issue. For Destiny, it was all about the beta test. Sure, you could write about your enduring love of Titanfall or inFamous: Second Son several months after the fact, or you could write about how Bloodborne will be a big title for the PlayStation 4. The latter idea might do well (provided you approach it properly) but in the end, none will do half as well as the trending topics.

Two points: 1. Don't rehash and repeat, and 2. Stand out

1. The problem with all those headlines is that it's easy to rehash existing articles. Worry less about the source of those articles; worry more that such articles have already gained the traction you seek. Hence, readers are less likely to click on a similar headline, simply because they've already spent an hour debating virtually the same topic.

You have to put your own spin on the hot topic. You need to offer something fresh, and the headline had better reflect that. Sadly, the vast majority of your reading audience won't bother with the actual text unless the headline hits them right between the eyes. One can easily find a bevy of comments directed towards articles that don't make much sense, primarily because the commenters only read the headline. So, be unique, and ensure the headline reflects that originality.

2. Standing out means not writing a wishy-washy headline. Make a claim, take a stand. "Destiny is a Guaranteed Game of the Year Contender" will undoubtedly get more attention than, "Is Destiny a Game of the Year Contender?" In all forms of writing and journalism, readers are drawn to statements as opposed to questions. "I'm Not Sure If..." won't do anywhere near as well as "I'm Certain That..." 

Focusing on trending topics shouldn't stunt creativity... quite the opposite, in fact

Many will say that simply nailing the trending topics is the "easy way out," that it requires no thought. They'll claim that all you're doing is kowtowing to the masses. Well, the readers do dictate. And as traffic and attention drives the online world, you had best accept that fact. At the same time, you have to be very creative to make it work; putting your own spin on subjects that have been analyzed to death is challenging. Good headline writing is a skill. Knowledge of SEO is important.

So, by all means, be proud of that meticulously researched piece you wrote that spanned 1,000+ words and touched on all sorts of intriguing points. Just don't be surprised when it goes nowhere. Doesn't mean you shouldn't write it; just means you have to balance a little.

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A Look at the People Behind the Words at GameSkinny https://www.gameskinny.com/tkrgt/a-look-at-the-people-behind-the-words-at-gameskinny https://www.gameskinny.com/tkrgt/a-look-at-the-people-behind-the-words-at-gameskinny Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:41:17 -0400 Proto Foe

Have you ever wondered about the person behind the words on your screen? Why they do what they do? What inspired them to pick up a keyboard and write? Do they actually play games? If they could do this forever, would they?

Well, some of our interns had the chance to ask and/or answer some questions similar to those above, and more. This article will highlight a small selection of their answers. The writers that will be under-the-knife this time will be, Yasmin CurrenShawn Malone, and myself.

Oh, and if you would like to be one of the interns in the future, then check out this article that explains how many pints of blood & sweat are required on a weekly basis, and maybe you can be the one who is wondered about.

Money, Fame, and Oranges

All three were asked a variation of "What inspired you to take the mantle of protector of GameSkinny, the Italic Knight?", and here is what they had to say:

Yasmin: In theory my pen never left the paper! Since I was a child I've been concocting imaginative short stories and making detailed files of my imaginary friends different personality traits and appearances. (I had some real friends too... I swear!)

When I grew older the pen was used as an emotional outlet for anything I was going through and I excelled in English within school. So when I saw the opportunity to write about games and gain something from it for my future career I jumped at the chance to get involved. I love games and I love writing so it just made sense :)

We all have had imaginary friends, Yasmin, but not all of us kept an X-Files style library of them. I, for one, wish I had though.

Shawn: It was suggested by someone already in JTP as a way to explore a different spectrum of the game industry.

That someone is GameSkinny's very own Venisia.  We are thankful for both them both. (I was not paid to say that.)

I Used to Smile, That Was before I Worked in Retail

A lot of writers have other jobs, or have worked in areas that gave them inspiration to move into the writing field. Shawn was asked: "How do you enjoy game journalism as compared to your past experience with game retail?"

Well I enjoy both. I like in journalism how I can express my love of games through knowledge and research. I love researching into each piece and informing readers.

The difference between that and retail is that, it’s not as personal. In retail, if I recommended a game for a customer to purchase, I’d be exposed to them coming back into the store thanking me for it and sharing what they loved so much. I got the chance to build relationships with my customers. I don’t have that in journalism. Yet at that the same time, I don’t have the corporate pressures that come with working in the retail end--the pressure for sales, pre-order quotas and the like.

I feel your pain, brudda. 

There Can Be Only One

Interviewing a fellow industry professional is no easy feat. So, when asked "If you could interview anyone from the games industry, who would it be and why?", Yasmin was torn between fandom and professionalism.

Do I have to choose just one?! D: I would originally want to choose Notch because, well, who wouldn't?! He's a genius and so freakin' humble as well it's crazy! But there are already so many interviews to watch online and books to read about him... Also if I did see him I'd probably turn it into a session of me attempting to sponge knowledge from him.

Instead I would choose Michel Ancel just so I could slip in some pestering about Beyond Good and Evil 2; I need that game!

We all need that game, Yasmin. We. All. Need. Beyond Good and Evil 2.

Does It Hurt?

I was asked: "Is this your first time doing the JTP?"

It is not, I have been here since January 2014. It's been an interesting 7 months, each session brings a whole new set of learnings for me.

To expand on my initial answer a bit; GameSkinny have had the displeasure of my company for 7 months. I initially wasn't going to return, however some elements changed between the last session and this one. Mainly, the addition of 'Senior Interns.' This new role has allowed several former interns the chance to see more behind the scenes; it's a real eye-opener.

(W)Rapping It up, Freestyle

Let's dive into the deepest, darkest, parts of the psyche of our subjects. This is where it can get real dark. You have all been warned!

First off is Shawn, "As an artist, what is your impression of how far art has come in video games?"

I think they have come very, very far from the days of the Atari 2600. Where games didn’t have very much concept art, where as today, you have multi-million dollar projects. It’s as if you’re watching them make a movie. Thanks to the advances of hardware, you can now have in-game art look as amazing and highly detailed as the concept art.

Shawn is absolutely correct, he also has some skills. Check out this example, the cover of For the Love of Words, which was penned by a fellow writer of GameSkinny, the Queen of Geeks, Venisia Gonzalez. 

The advancements over the past 3 generations of console is amazing, indeed. Just take a look at what Blur are doing with the Halo 2 Anniversary cut scenes.

Yasmin may be a writer, a collector of imaginary friends (the ultimate precursor to Skylanders), but that doesn't mean she has reached her limits. She has a YouTube channel, and when asked about it:

Ah yes, YagmanX. My YouTube channel is my passion and has been a real blessing since I started it last October. I enjoy all forms of creative media and had just finished a well-rounded media course and pursued a career in coding. But I missed filming, editing and using my imagination so that's when I started my channel.

I've already met some amazing people on there and use it to my advantage to get in touch with people from all sorts of industries as it shows my enthusiasm for certain areas of work (like games!) Overall it's just fun! :D

Here is hoping that she can take the skills that have been learnt in the realm of YouTube, games journalism, and mix them together.

Well, that escalated quickly.

Lastly, I was asked what job I'd select if I was granted the ability, by President Obama, to pick any in the world?

Creative Lead for first party and expanded universe products, at 343i.

I hope you all enjoyed this small peek behind the curtain. All that is left for me to do is give thanks to my fellow interviewers and interviewees, Rocky and Venisia, and Yasmin and Shawn, respectively.

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9 Tips to Get Hired for a Video Game Journalism Job (Any Job, Really) https://www.gameskinny.com/plk1z/9-tips-to-get-hired-for-a-video-game-journalism-job-any-job-really https://www.gameskinny.com/plk1z/9-tips-to-get-hired-for-a-video-game-journalism-job-any-job-really Fri, 25 Jul 2014 03:57:44 -0400 Amy White

After sorting through the 100+ applications for our Associate Editor gig here at GameSkinny, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a few tips from behind the usually soulless, feedback-devoid curtain that separates applicant and application reviewer.

These tips really apply to almost any application, but those of you seeking writing or editing jobs should find them especially relevant.

#1 Follow Directions

Directions in a job post are a test. If you don't follow directions now, I have no expectation you'll follow directions if you're hired. Does the job posting say to use a particular subject for your email? Now is not the time to get clever. Use their subject line or wind up in what is commonly referred to as the 'round filing cabinet.' (Technically it should be called the cylindrical filing cabinet, but you get the point.)

#2 Don't Waste Your Intro Email

Online applications that ask you to send a resume to an email address are providing you the golden opportunity to make a first impression before anyone sees your resume. That's pretty rare these days, as many companies have hiring portals that will prevent you from emailing directly, so look at this opportunity as a gift. If you have the skills to make a great first impression in your email, do it!

Sending an email that just says "Resume attached" makes an impression, but it's not one that's likely to work in your favor.

#3 Keep it Brief

That said, keep anything you're submitting brief, technically sound (especially when you are applying for a writing/editing gig), and interesting; entertaining is also good, but won't save you if you've missed out on the first three. You want to share the information that will help you get hired, but don't obscure it with extra filler that you think you need to make your intro email, cover letter, or resume a certain length.

#4 Make it Relevant

I have an inbox full of people who want a gig, those who have obviously read the job posting, researched our site, and customized their intro and resume to our needs and will be easy to spot and much preferred over people who seem disengaged.

#5 Check Yourself

No, seriously. When was the last time you looked at your Google+ avatar or scrutinized your actual email address with an outside eye? If either one screams "UNPROFESSIONAL" you are going to have a bad time. Now is not the time for inside jokes in your email handle or bathroom selfie profile pics.

Great qualifications can overcome shortcomings in this area, but only if you are the most qualified candidate and the hiring manager gets past your borderline-offensive email address in order to even read your resume and discover that fact.

#6 Not Everything Should Go On Your Resume

A close cousin to #3 and #5 - do you have pictures, religious affiliation, clip art, awkward personal details about your most recent break up?

Yeah, leave 'em out.

#7 But Do Add Interesting Skills That Set You Apart From The Crowd

Assuming they are relevant to either the position or the company, do add other skills that could make you a more well-rounded candidate for the position. These help not only give you an edge over others in qualifications, but also make your application more memorable.

'Where did that app go for the guy with all the social media experience? Ah, there it is...'

#8 Don't Forget Your Resume

Seems simple, but I've already seen a number of applicants go by who failed to include their resume, writing samples, and/or editorial samples. Don't make it easy to ignore your application! Double check the job posting to ensure you've fulfilled all the directions before you send. Sending a follow up 'oops - I forgot this thing' might work, but it might also be too late. Depends on the competition.

#9 Use Their Words Against Them

To the savvy wordsmith, company copy provides a keen edge over the competition, as well as a way to get the ever-elusive attention of the hiring manager.

Read the company website. Read the job posting. Now read it again. Now reread your cover letter and intro email. Are you speaking their language? Could your copy have been lifted right off of their 'About Us' page? Matching your tone to the company style accomplishes two things:

  1. It lays to rest any question of 'can this person write in our brand voice?'
  2. It subconsciously tells the hiring manager 'this cat would fit in here.'

'Cultural fit' is one of the most elusive traits to convince a company you have, and you can do it long before the interview with a little wordsmithing. As I'm reading through some messages, some are spot on. Others are overly professional, too casual, or extremely wordy.

While it's possible that is just one of many styles that you as a writer are capable of, it doesn't do you any favors to use a style that's grossly mismatched to the style of the company. I write much different introductions to a law firm than I do to a independent ice cream store. Use your words wisely!

Finally - Good Luck!

Every job search is stressful in it's own way. Apply yourself, but don't forget to take time to restore yourself. Try not to take rejection or silence personally. Especially in high-competition fields, there can be many, many applicants for a single position. (Easier said than done, I know.)

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Another Session in the JTP Coming to a Close https://www.gameskinny.com/f7ed5/another-session-in-the-jtp-coming-to-a-close https://www.gameskinny.com/f7ed5/another-session-in-the-jtp-coming-to-a-close Wed, 25 Jun 2014 01:29:44 -0400 Mary Yeager

This June marked my one year anniversary for writing here at GameSkinny. I have been an avid participant in the Journalist Training Program, or JTP as it is called.

Over the past year, I have learned so much and found I have not only grown as a writer, but as a person as well.

Awesome Things to Learn

For writers new to journalism or just wanting to learn about things they might have missed, the JTP is a great resource to make use of. Not only will you learn about writing, but also how to network within the industry itself. The program provides valuable experiences in an environment that is easy to learn and grow from.

Friends to Travel With

Over the year, I have watched people come and go from the GameSkinny community. Some of my greatest friends have come from participating in the program. In times of my life when I found I needed support, my friends in the program and the great staff at GameSkinny have been there when I needed them the most.

While some places could care less, the people here are beyond supportive and I could never thank them enough.

Experience Unparalleled

Overall, the JTP is an awesome experience that I have taken part in several times. I won't say it is not a lot of work. I won't say it isn't hard at times. It is both, but I wouldn't trade my time here for any other experience.

If you are serious in becoming a writer in video game journalism, or journalism in general, the JTP is a great place to learn and they are still taking applications for the rest of the year.

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Friendly PSA for Aspiring Journalists: Reading is Not an Option https://www.gameskinny.com/ofo7c/friendly-psa-for-aspiring-journalists-reading-is-not-an-option https://www.gameskinny.com/ofo7c/friendly-psa-for-aspiring-journalists-reading-is-not-an-option Mon, 16 Jun 2014 14:11:21 -0400 Fathoms_4209

This is a rule for all writers: You can't be a good writer if you don't read.

It's a commonly known and accepted fact, but I think it's especially important to remind blossoming video game journalists. Sadly, in my experience, many big gamers really don't read that often.

Until video takes over the world, journalism is still about writing. It doesn't matter how much you know about video games. It doesn't matter how much research you do, nor does it matter that you've got a knack for getting people's attention. If you don't have the writing ability, it'll be difficult to progress in the journalism industry.

Good writing is the result of lots of practice, a solid vocabulary, and a keenly sharpened mind. The last two traits can only be acquired by reading, so get hopping.

Reading should be enjoyable but it also pays to be diverse

There are countless books out there, so you're perfectly welcome to read whatever you like. However, it will benefit you a great deal in the future if you diversify your reading list. For instance, you should always read articles written by other journalists in the field you have chosen; that's just a given. Beyond that, feel free to read what you like, but try busting free of your comfort zone from time to time.

If you can't resist a great modern mystery or thriller, by all means, have a blast. But if you've always been intimidated by a classic you've always wanted to read, give it a try. The only way you'll get better is by reading more, so make the extra effort. You should also consider trying a wide variety of reading entertainment, including short stories, plays and poetry.

Sorry, comic books and menus don't really count

All reading is beneficial to some extent, but sticking to comic books (or even graphic novels) and the occasional menu won't be enough. You've chosen a profession that will rely heavily on your writing skill, and that relies heavily on a variety of traits that are almost exclusively improved via reading. Not only will it give you a better vocabulary, it will allow your brain to branch out and grow; you'll start seeing multiple sides of any given issue.

One might think it doesn't require much ability to review a video game, or turn a press release into a decent, clean piece of professional copy. But one would be wrong. So please, do yourself a favor and make some time to read each and every day.

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The JTP and Me https://www.gameskinny.com/4dowk/the-jtp-and-me https://www.gameskinny.com/4dowk/the-jtp-and-me Wed, 11 Jun 2014 02:40:20 -0400 Proto Foe

 Note: Please bear with me on this :)

There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.

--Frank Herbert

As I write this I am listening to Mike Oldfield, I'd recommend him for easy listening. If you'd prefer, and it may be better, then listen to you video in the header; it contains more thoughts.

So

I guess the reason you would read this is to find out if I'd give two thumbs up to the JTP. Well, yes. The JTP is a program that provided the resources and knowledge to many people, and with those resources those people can then take their first steps into the wide world of journalism.

It does exactly what it says on the tin.

The JTP also provides other things; friendship, security, comfort and strength. These are things that you can't always find elsewhere, not all in one place anyway.

My Time

I have been with the JTP for 156 days. I haven't been active all that time, but the powers-that-be have been supportive of that. Each day that I have been active, each day that I have produced content or been apart of something with in the JTP, I have felt like I've made progress. Now, that progress may not always stick with me... but that is something personal, not a reflection upon the JTP.

Interviews. Reviews. Guides. News. Editorials. I have had a chance to dabble in them all, it's been an experience and a half, no doubt.

The Short of It

Yes, you should apply for JTP. Yes, you should experience this great program for yourself. No, you shouldn't be afraid to push against the tide (just do it better than I did), because it'll be good for everyone.

So, in closing - if read this far - I had a hell of a ride.

Thank you, Katy, Jay, Stephanie, Venisia, Mary, Brian, and everyone else who I've had the pleasure of meeting. Oh, and of course Amy! I'd have never known about the JTP if I'd not been spamming her with news. Which you can do too by sending her leads to leads@gameskinny.com - Do it!

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My Experience With JTP https://www.gameskinny.com/ked71/my-experience-with-jtp https://www.gameskinny.com/ked71/my-experience-with-jtp Mon, 28 Apr 2014 07:36:27 -0400 Delta Squad Reaper

I am here to share my experience with the Journalist Training Program, otherwise known as "JTP." For the first week, I was feeling excited and ready to begin my new path on a hopeful career as a video game journalist. After the first week came to a close, my family pushed me in another direction involving me in their petty issues and then my computer crapped out to which, I then began to feel discouraged and unworthy of doing it. Seven weeks go by, as I have no way of working and it turns out I missed the entire first round of JTP.

At this point, with beginning the second round soon, I am still discouraged and feel I should step down and allow someone better deserving of it get in the program. I feel I should just become a shadow on GameSkinny until I feel good enough about working towards the career. With my personal goal of moving to California and hitting a bunch of ups and downs, needing to tap into a career as soon as possible, all of these pitfalls are not helping me. I wanted to complete the entire first round with no issues, but some unseen force just didn't want that to happen. 

I know you may think I am just rambling on being a negative nerf herder, but really I am just sharing my experience as I have seen others do. I will say that JTP is an amazing program for the little I got to do. I met some great people including our jedi master Katy Hollingsworth, Lauren Puga, and many more (Too many to actually list). Amy White has also been of great help with my journey. 

I am also thinking of returning to school to work on a degree for game design, which gets me even closer in this world of games. While I am still contemplating joining the second round or not, I do appreciate the opportunity to join and learn even more. The program will teach you a lot about being in this business, and I obviously didn't have what it took to continue. If you wish to learn more and get better at your craft, this is the place to be.

I strongly suggest you to do it, only with the mindset that you love writing as much as, if not more than video games. Always be on search mode for news, and be prepared to work day in and day out until Katy tells you you have a day off. My failure and mistakes is another writer's gain. Enjoy your time with JTP.

- This is Delta Squad Reaper signing off.

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Finding A Home in GameSkinny's JTP https://www.gameskinny.com/5o983/finding-a-home-in-gameskinnys-jtp https://www.gameskinny.com/5o983/finding-a-home-in-gameskinnys-jtp Fri, 25 Apr 2014 15:59:30 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

I've been writing since high school and it's what I've always wanted to do--write in some arena. I also love my video games. Not once in my life did I ever think of combining these two loves until GameSkinny.

I'm a published author of poetry and short stories. I'm also a photographer, artist, avid gamer and huge nerd. Journalist was never an occupation I considered until last year after a friend convinced me I'd be great at it. Knowing I had no journalist experience wouldn't make it easy to find a job somewhere, not to mention I'm not one for politics or the crime beat. Gaming journalism seemed like an elite institution in of itself with the who's who of IGN and those like Jessica Chobot.

Then while on Twitter, I responded to tweet on GameSkinny's feed, ended up in an email chat and the rest is history. Where did it lead? GameSkinny's Journalist Training Program.

I can't express how grateful I am for the wonderful opportunity I was given but most of all, how grateful I am to have found another home. I love writing poetry and I love gaming journalism too. It's the best of both worlds for someone like me; writing and gaming, gaming and writing--what isn't there to love? Now, don't get me wrong, it's not all sunshine and rainbows--far from. Gaming journalism is a lot of work. The JTP has taught me every bit of it and it's all thanks to the Program Director Katy Hollingsworth. She is amazing and I love her death!

I've also met some wonderful and very talented people here as well. Writers like Stephanie Tang, Kate Reynolds, John Pinnick, Mary Yeager, Jay Ricciardi, Amanda Wallace and Lauren Puga. All whom I would've never probably met if not for JTP. You don't just gain knowledge, you gain friendships. Isn't that also important in today's world?

JTP is my second home and that is meant affectionately. Every day is a work day but it's one that is enjoyed. Everything I've learned, from picking out keywords, writing game guides thanks to Ashley Shankle, to timing on an article, has been valuable knowledge to me. I've had some great interviews thanks to my experience through GameSkinny and I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

So what are you waiting for?

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A Game Journalist's Sob Story: When Play Becomes Work https://www.gameskinny.com/0u3ph/a-game-journalists-sob-story-when-play-becomes-work https://www.gameskinny.com/0u3ph/a-game-journalists-sob-story-when-play-becomes-work Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:41:44 -0400 Fathoms_4209

Forgive the melodramatic headline. Perhaps this isn't a "sob story" in the most literal sense of the term.

However, I think it's important to know if you're an aspiring video game journalist. It's impossible to put things into perspective when you're pursuing your goal with such ardent passion, and your life is fixated on achieving that goal. That's how it works when you're younger and you're first starting out: You settle on something you think you want, and then you go for it.

That's probably the best way to do it, too. Just bear in mind that if you achieve your goal, the challenges don't stop. In fact, in many ways, they just get more challenging. This is because that in addition to standard life changes, people change as well. What we adore in our 20s may not even be on the radar in our 40s. And if you've chosen a career path based on what you adored in your 20s...well, you see where this is going.

Oh shut up, you get to play games for a living

Yeah, I've heard this before. I've lost count, actually. However, every time I hear it, I want to respond with a litany of clarifications:

Firstly, define "living." Unless you're working for one of the top publications, you're not making much. In fact, chances are, it's either part-time or even voluntary. Furthermore, even if you do work for a top publication, you're hardly getting rich (even though it can certainly be called a "living").

Secondly, no game journalist is just "playing games" all day. For the most part, unless it's during the holiday season and you can't tear yourself away from reviews, you're spending the majority of your time writing news, tracking down interviews, tossing up various media, sending out newsletters, pursuing social media, etc. Most of my day is not spent playing games, I promise you that.

Thirdly, even during that holiday season, when the reviews pile up, it's hardly entertaining. Deadlines are putting you under serious pressure, at least half the games you have to review are of no interest to you whatsoever, and oh yeah, you actually have to write the review at some point. Considering what many journalists earn, their hourly rate might come in at a few bucks an hour during peak season. That's because they might spend 12 hours a day and still only earn part-time pay.

And here's the big one...

Beyond all of that, though, something else happens. If you do it long enough, it's something far more frustrating: Play really does feel like work.

It has reached the point now where anything I do for work feels exactly like work. It's not play. It doesn't matter what the particular task is; work is work. Okay, for many, that's no big deal. They settle into a routine of sorts, struggle to stay afloat, and try to relax after the day is over.

Ah, but that's part of the problem. See, I still love gaming so I'd often want to relax by playing a game. ...I'm sure you can see the issue. How can you convince your brain that you're not working? When play and work feel inseparable, you've got a big problem. The only solution might be to play something entirely different from what you played during the day for the job. In other words, if I play inFamous: Second Son for review purposes, I'll play Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster later.

They always say you shouldn't live in your favorite vacation locale

They say this because that locale quickly loses its magic if you're there all the time. When you're anywhere all the time, when you do something all the time, it inevitably becomes routine and hence, you don't equate that with leisure and recreation. The latter is something you do to unwind, to distance yourself from that routine. When routine and recreation blend, you might just have to reassess.

That's why I've seriously considered leaving game journalism and doing something entirely different. It has never paid very well (and probably never will) and maybe gaming will become a lot more fun again if I opt for another career. Of course, it's hard to do because in the back of your mind you're going: "Are you crazy? You said you always wanted to do this!"

Yeah, well, things change. My recommendation to all aspiring game journalists is to do the following right from the start: Attempt to separate "work play" and "play play." If you can successfully do that, maybe your vacation spot will always remain magical and sunny. :)

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Interviewing Tips For Budding Journalists https://www.gameskinny.com/xtje9/interviewing-tips-for-budding-journalists https://www.gameskinny.com/xtje9/interviewing-tips-for-budding-journalists Wed, 02 Apr 2014 15:14:51 -0400 Fathoms_4209

I still remember conducting my first interview. I thought it'd be simple; so simple, in fact, that I didn't even bother to write down any questions.

...it didn't go that well. As the years went on, I interviewed celebrities in the music, comedy, movie, and video game industries (Kelly Clarkson, Carlos Mencia, Coldplay, Celtic Woman, David Jaffe, Colin Mochrie, Jenova Chen, etc.), and I learned a few things.

Now, around fourteen years later, I can say with confidence that I've honed my interviewing skills and coupled them with my knowledge of content creation. Combining the two is absolutely essential for all budding journalists today, especially video game journalists.

What will you ask when you finally get a chance to interview a Hideo Kojima or Peter Molyneux? How will you approach it? What can make that interview stand out in the minds of the interviewee and your readers? There are several tips to consider:

1. Never ask a "yes"or no" question; keep them TALKING

It's a rookie mistake and it typically results in a lack of useful quotes. It's also boring for the interviewee, which you'll soon hear in the tone of voice if you continue your litany of "yes or no" queries. While it's likely that your subject will elaborate on his or her answer,  you're still giving them the option to provide you with a one-word - and totally useless - reply.

However, as always, there are exceptions to every rule. For instance, a simple "yes" or "no" response to "Are you going to make a Final Fantasy VII remake?" is enough for an eye-catching headline. Even then, though, you probably want to follow up with more questions, right?

The best way to do that is to give them open-ended questions. Not, "Do you like microtransactions?" but rather, "What are your thoughts on the microtransaction business model?" Yes, both questions could generate the same result, but you never know; your interviewee could be having a bad day, he or she might be in a rush, etc. You can never be certain, so for the most part, stick to open-ended questions.

2. It's not an oral exam, it's a discussion

The vast majority of my best headlines came from a style of interviewing that I call conversational as opposed to a rapid-fire Q&A. The reason for this is simple: The more they talk, the more likely they are to say something you've never heard. Thing is, a lot of these people have been interviewed countless times and of course, they've answered the same sets of questions over and over. Therefore, many of their responses, even if they don't intend them to be repetitive, are indeed mechanically uttered. It's routine.

You want to break free of that routine. Ask your question, but always try to add to their response. It can even help to interrupt (but be careful that you don't do it too often), because A. It proves you're listening and not just copying down their words, and B. It provides a tangent opportunity.

For instance, if you're asking a developer a question concerning artificial intelligence, and he, somewhat predictably, talks about how important it is, you can pop in with: "I have to say, AI is just one of those things that can either fully immerse me, or totally take me out of a game." Doesn't matter if it's true; it can easily generate more commentary, and it shakes the interviewee out of their comfort zone.

I've completed interviews where I walked away or hung up the phone and went:

"What the hell did we even talk about?"

The answer was, unfortunately, "not much that was interesting." If you ask what everybody else asks and you provide nothing new, you're going to end up with some seriously boring responses, and no chance at creating multiple traffic-driving headlines. You've got to jar them loose; get them out of that comfort zone and suddenly, the interview will take on an entirely new dynamic. It'll be more like a chat rather than a question-and-answer session. And I tell you, the interviewee always appreciates that.

Remember your goal...

Sometimes, it's easy to lose sight of that goal. If you're trying to produce content that is designed to attract readers, you need attractive headlines, right? That being the case, you want to construct your questions that will most likely result in what I like to call "clickable answers." A great quote will get people to click on your article. They may not read the entire interview but you know what? Doesn't matter. They already clicked.

Don't try to dig too deep for these "clickable answers," though. After you interview for a while, you'll sense when an interviewee has resolved not to give you anything more. You'll also sense when your subject is perhaps more talkative than normal.

Use all these tips to give yourself another shot at a future interview. Do it right, and they'll always be happy to talk again. And of course, that's precisely what you want. :)

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Join Us for the 2014 Journalist Training Program Sessions! https://www.gameskinny.com/eqf8g/join-us-for-the-2014-journalist-training-program-sessions https://www.gameskinny.com/eqf8g/join-us-for-the-2014-journalist-training-program-sessions Mon, 17 Mar 2014 06:56:23 -0400 Amy White

Everyone starts somewhere. Are you ready for an online writing experience that will boost your skills and your resume? Well then...

Why Join the Journalist Training Program?

"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." - Lauren

This program is for applicants who want to gain real experience in online publishing. Work in an online newsroom environment in two-month increments. Participants who complete the program are eligible for:

  • A professional referral from the editor in charge of the Journalist Training Program for use on resumes and job applications.
  • The Journalist Training Program qualifies as a college internship for credit. Please indicate your intent to complete the program for credit during your application so we can help you work with your college advisor.
  • The option to apply for a leadership role in the Journalist Training Program in order to earn managerial experience.
  • Consideration for current openings at GameSkinny when applicable.

Each round lasts for eight weeks and students may participate in as many rounds as they like.  Applications are always open, though students should specify which eight-week rotation(s) they are interested in.

Program Start Dates for 2014

  • March 3rd
  • May 5th
  • July 7th
  • September 1st
  • November 3rd

Our program for 2014 concludes on December 25th

Apply for the Journalist Training Program

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Traveling the JTP Road https://www.gameskinny.com/0nnj9/traveling-the-jtp-road https://www.gameskinny.com/0nnj9/traveling-the-jtp-road Fri, 28 Feb 2014 21:52:42 -0500 Mary Yeager

This isn't my first rodeo. I have been part of the JTP since June of last year. Its had its fun moments, as well as its stressful ones.You learn a lot of lessons in the JTP, including some that have little to do with actual writing itself.

SEO and Traffic

This is one of the most important lessons of the JTP. After all, you aren't writing to see yourself think. You want people to read what you write and respond to it. The GameSkinny JTP gives you the perfect platform to get in there, learn the ropes, and begin to gain an audience.

Tolerance

This one was a huge one for me to learn this session of the training program. You are not going to agree with everyone. On a platform like GameSkinny, other authors or commenters will just make you want to reach up and yank a huge hunk of hair out. Frustration will abound. But, you want to make it so you follow along with the program, talk to your pals to vent, and keep on trucking on.

Friendship and Contacts

This is one of my favorite aspects. You meet others like yourself that in the end, if it wasn't for them, you aren't sure you would've made it that week. Sometimes, when those views aren't where you want them, they are there to urge you to not give up. It's all about supporting each other along the way and growing as journalist.

I wouldn't trade my experience working with GameSkinny staff and journalism participants for the world. This session was a rough road for me and they have constantly been there for support, even outside of the writing parameters. It feels like a family.

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From Wannabe to JTP - My JTP Experience https://www.gameskinny.com/lsx18/from-wannabe-to-jtp-my-jtp-experience https://www.gameskinny.com/lsx18/from-wannabe-to-jtp-my-jtp-experience Fri, 28 Feb 2014 21:26:24 -0500 Lauren Puga

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. 

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