Ever wondered how you can get started in the field of esports journalism? British Esports’ Content Manager, Bryony-Hope Green, goes through some steps you can take to kickstart your esports journalism career.
The world of esports journalism is quite large, and there are several different aspects to consider when beginning your journey into the sector. It may seem quite daunting at first, but once you have enough practice and experience, you’ll be well on your way to the top!
These tips are just some of the things I found came in handy when starting out myself, so hopefully they can help you too.
1. Start a blog:
One of the easiest ways to get started in esports journalism is to write! Seems a bit obvious, but getting into the swing of writing and doing preliminary research can be a really good first step.
In terms of starting a blog to publish your pieces, it’s really easy to set one up. There are so many free platforms out there you can use to create your own online portfolio. I started by using SimpleSite, but found that it was quite difficult to control the design elements on the posts – hence why I then moved onto WordPress.
Platforms for blogging are all down to personal preference, so try a few out before settling on one.
Making sure you dedicate some time and effort into making sure your blog looks professional is a key starting step. Take a look at other sites and get inspiration from them, or even go through the templates available on your chosen platform.
Once the blog is set up, publish your own articles on the site to build up examples of your work; as well as it just being good practice for your writing skills.
If a potential employer asks to see examples of your work, you can send them a link to your blog and showcase your abilities to them through it..
Kicking off your journey this way is really beneficial, and gets you into the swing of things early on.
2. Develop your writing skills:
The most important aspect of being a journalist in any field is having good writing comprehension, and the ability to convey information well through writing.
This is where practice and research comes into play.
Look at some big esports publications or news sites, and take notes of the ways that their pieces are written. Each publication will have their own house-style, but there will be common things between the articles that will be good to consider for your own work.
Then, find a story and write a piece about it – incorporating some of the things that you found looking through established publications.
From here, try and get a fresh pair of eyes to read through your writing and get feedback from them about spelling, punctuation and grammar. If you can’t get someone to look through, put your piece through an online checker, and amend any mistakes you might find.
Doing this regularly will allow you to develop your writing, as well as finding a style that works best for you.
Some people say that having a degree or qualification in a writing-based course (i.e journalism) is necessary for getting into this sector. Although it is handy to have this background, it isn’t a necessity.
Anyone can develop their own writing ability with practice, so if esports journalism is something you want to do, why not go for it?
3. Freelance Vs. Volunteering:
As with any role in esports (and other industries), starting out generally consists of volunteering or freelance work to get used to the space. I began my esports journalism journey as a volunteer match reporter for British Esports, and this allowed me to see whether or not this was the right career for me.
Although some people can be put off by starting out as a volunteer, it can be a very important step into this sector – mainly because you can learn to produce work to industry-standard.
If you get a place volunteering as a journalist, make the most of it! Speak to those who you are working alongside, and try to get as much feedback from industry professionals as possible.
By taking up every opportunity in this volunteering placement, you can collate more content for your portfolio, make some good contacts, and have credible experience to add to your CV.
Freelancing is slightly different – you can either go straight into it, or you can take that step once you have completed some voluntary experience. I would personally say to avoid going straight into freelancing without any industry experience, as potential employers may be looking for that edge to offer you work. However, everyone is different, so make sure you consider all of your options before taking the leap.
When you feel you are ready to become a freelancer, keep an eye out on websites like Hitmarker for opportunities, and make sure you keep practicing!
Setting rates and hours is something to consider also, but it is probably best to speak to people in the industry first to get an idea of what to set for yourself.
More information about freelancing in esports can be found here.
So, however you may begin your journey, make sure you are confident and ready to seize any opportunities that may arise.
4. Get to grips with grammar:
Even though I’ve touched on having good writing skills, making sure you are confident in preventing grammatical errors is really, really important.
Every journalist will obviously make mistakes, but trying to be consistent in your writing is something you should aspire to do in every piece of work.
I know it sounds basic, but clarifying your knowledge of things like: the correct use of apostrophes, commas, and reporting speech can make a big difference. On top of this, having that knowledge is just nice for your own peace of mind – giving you confidence when you write.
On top of this, making sure you are clear on tenses (and how to keep them consistent) makes a world of difference. Countless times I have found myself starting an article in the past tense, and then writing the occasional phrase in the present. So make sure you keep it consistent all the way through, and get someone else to proofread it to find things you may have missed.
Having good grammar will make writing articles a lot easier, and the more you get your head around it all, the less you have to think about it when you write.
5. Network with others:
Something that will always stay with me is the advice I was given in my first year of university by my feature writing lecturer: ‘Keep a small address book with you and write down the details for everyone you interview, speak to or work with so you can contact them again in the future.’
Since then, I’ve had a little address book that has been filling up gradually with people I have met or spoken to within the industry. This is a really good way to network with others, as well as having something you can refer back to at a moment’s notice.
When you conduct an interview, write down the details of who you spoke to and why, so you can potentially revisit for a follow up in the future!
Journalism is all about communication (another thing one of my lecturers has instilled in me), so getting in contact with various people is important – especially when starting out.
You can also expand your network by going to esports events, and reaching out to different people or publications online. Gradually building up your network gives you the opportunity to meet new people, and can potentially open up for some opportunities in the future.
These are just a few of the things I have learnt since starting out in esports journalism, so hopefully they can help you get started on your journey!
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