Thursday, 2 October 2008

A change of direction

First of all, apologies for another late blog. Hopefully the technical problems I have been facing are now cleared up, and I have a healthy computer again. As you may or may not know, this blog, as well as being a place for me to hammer out ideas about the gaming world, is also part of my print journalism course. This post will be the marker from where I will be assessed I believe, so just to mark the occasion, I have put a nice image of my mug, proper column like. It is also black and white so that I look professional/arty/like an unoriginal arse who thinks that it is being different.

The regular Wednesday posting slot will be dropped in favour of more entries throughout the week, keeping you more up to date with gaming news and features.

The world of games journalism is an interesting one to say the least. The girls, the money, the power, the free time and all of the other things that do not come with the job are traded off for the opportunity to sit at a desk for nine hours a day, basking in the glow of a monitor. As any career in the journalistic field will show, the perks come out of the blue in the guise of fun stories and opportunities. It is a very unpredictable, but usually satisfying job that can take you anywhere.

Take PC Zone for example. I had the pleasure of meeting the team on a work experience placement, but just the other day, three of them tendered their notices. One of the guys got a job offer in New York and the other two have now gone freelance. All will still contribute, but in a different, less hands on kind of way. Is this a good thing? New blood might be refreshing, but everyone was comfortable with the old style.

Is it a case that the working conditions after a budget cut felt like a little bit too much? Or is it just a natural career progression? Only the individuals will know these answers for sure, but it has shaken my perspective a bit. Is in house the way to go, settling in and trying to carve a niche in an established piece of work. Perhaps freelancing, being your own boss and sticking your fingers in as many different pies as possible is the way to go about it. It certainly works well for many people such as Terry Pratchett’s daughter, Rhianna, a former journalist turned games writer, who occasionally does freelance games journalism.

Whatever route a games journalist goes down, they all eventually cross over at some point, like the London Underground, only with a friendlier atmosphere, like anything above the inner circle of hell. Journalists meet up, trade stories, talk to the same people and develop a network of useful contacts and generally nice people. It is a job about pursuing what you love, and going above and beyond the call of duty to get it. Also playing games.

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