Starting a career in videogames journalism through volunteering
It’s no secret that to begin a career in videogames journalism (or any kind, for that matter), you need to work for free. Building a portfolio of work can take time, but it develops your writing skills and helps you slowly make a name for yourself.
There are generally three places you can volunteer your time to write about videogames:
- Your own, one-person blog
- A small, unknown website
- A larger, more established volunteer-run website
Writing on your own blog gives you absolute freedom over what the site looks like and what direction it’s heading in. Your only responsibility is to yourself and if you have them, your readers. Working on a small, unknown site is much the same, although you might not have to deal with the administration side of things, which can be a bonus.
However, these first two options have two huge drawbacks:
- There’s rarely anyone to edit your articles or give you feedback
- Few people will read your work, limiting your exposure and chance to build a reputation
The advantages of an established site
Along with practice, feedback is an extremely important part of improving your writing. Without it, you may never know where you’re going wrong. Under the guidance of a good editor, you can accelerate your learning and refine your style much faster than if you were working alone.
Larger, more established volunteer-run websites can provide this feedback. These publications have staff with years of experience who peer-review every article and have a track record of developing writers who go on to work in the industry professionally. Their articles are seen by many more people than on smaller sites and their reputation is sufficient to give your CV/resume a significant boost.
These are the kind of sites that we represent at the AIGW. Our members are amongst the largest and most established volunteer-run publications out there. AIGW sites are always looking for new talent, whether you’ve been writing about games for a while or are just getting started.
Applying to these sites is usually done by sending them an email with a sample article and a bit about yourself. If they see enough potential in your work and decide to hire you, you’ll be in a perfect position to start a career in journalism.