Friendly PSA for Aspiring Journalists: Reading is Not an Option

If you want to become a great journalist (in the game industry or elsewhere), you have no choice: You have to read.

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

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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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Author
Fathoms_4209
A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.