So You Want To Work In The Media
Posted on Friday, March 21 @ 18:55:30 PST by MurrowLove him, hate him, or love to hate him, GR's angriest undercover reporter is back and he's got enough loathing to go around, plus some advice. Murrow Speaks:
As the more vitriolic of GR's commenters have pointed out: everything's pretty much fucked and it isn't going to change so shut up we'll take our video games without politics, thankyouverymuch.
I am not dismissing them. Those guys have a point. They have a right to be heard, and they have a point. Everything is pretty much fucked and it's not a pretty picture.
But I will say this: it is not COMPLETELY fucked.
The idea of these columns, which some people might say are simply their own thoughts repeated ad nauseum, is to go from point A to B to C and so on. I'm not spinning my own wheels so much as trying to make sure that I cover every inch of ground I can. If some of it sounds like a rerun to you, well, then it is. I want to try to account for every aspect of this, and there is a point which I hope is becoming self-evident.
Let me make another point first, which is the crux of this column:
I have failed you. Journalism has failed you. Every reporter that you see on television has failed you. Every anchor you've heard on the radio has failed you.
If we hadn't failed you, I would be able to tell you my name. If I hadn't failed you, I wouldn't have to cower behind a pen name.
I am not a liberal, personally. I am closer to being a radical conservative or a conservative radical. At the same time, I recognize that I need you. The public needs you. The media needs you. YOU NEED YOU.
A GR member, Yoshi, sent me the information for a documentary called "Orwell Rolls In His Grave." It will scare the ever-living shit out of you. It is more prescient and more interesting than anything Michael Moore has ever made. You would do well to watch it.
A YouTube commenter wrote on the film's page: 14,000 people watched this, yet more then 9 million people played World of Warcraft.
We can change things if we fight hard enough, and smart enough. And now, we have to. You have to.
The steps needed to pierce the mainstream media seem fairly simple, but I'll reinforce them anyway: Finish college, look for an opening in a field you understand, get the job.
1. Collect Underpants
That's what every fucking parent in the universe tells their children.
It isn't completely inaccurate, but it is useless, and it isn't much in the way of a fucking plan.
As I said in a previous column, by our generation's very nature, we know more about technology and the internet than our elders. That is doubly true as far as our parents' generation goes. This understanding is a powerful tool. Especially since the internet is the single most frighteningly powerful medium that has ever existed - and it's ours.
Large media corporations are in constant need of employees who not only know how to check email or diddle around using FireFox, but who can work on graphic design in Photoshop, run a digital infrastructure, manage their IT systems, program flash-based multimedia, set up a work station, etc, etc. Hell, someone who can competently edit in Final Cut Pro can make a ton of dough working for big media.
The people who run these companies are generally pretty ignorant of the technologies we command with ease. They understand the media, but not why defragging a hard drive is important. They know how to sell stories to the public, but they don't know what a CAT5 cable is. Take advantage of their ignorance. We have the upper hand when it comes to
All of those jobs should be yours. They belong to you. It takes resolve, but they are there. It goes without saying, of course, that you'll all be competing with each other. And worse, the job market sucks right now. But I digress…
The premiere place to search for jobs in the msm is mediabistro.com - damn near everyone uses it, from NBC to CBS and Fox News.The idea here is to get your foot in the mainstream media door. You'll be on the ground level, not a news editor off the bat, but it's a start. Better, this is a perfectly reasonable goal. These jobs are attainable.
I won't say that the hard part is over, since it's all hard, but after you nail a position, it's largely a matter of making the system work for you.
The easiest way to do that is by communicating with everyone around you and making friends. A smile in the newsroom goes far. Being savvy and funny goes farther. Intelligence and wit will get you everywhere.
After you take your place as the smart, sort of geeky kid, step one will take only minutes: find out what section stories about gaming end up on the website. Sometimes, video game stories are part of the tech section. Sometimes they are part of the entertainment section.
Once you know what department handles gaming culture, talk to the writers who work in that section. Their names should be in the company directory and tracking them down should be as easy as finding what floor they work on.
I would personally try talking to them in person. It's harder to ignore someone if they're in front of you. Just be sure to smell nice. The important part here is to make a connection.
Then, find out what the editor of that section is like. You should not under any circumstances hesitate to approach editors with the idea of acting as a writer. (Obviously, you need to be able to fucking write well.)
Many times in large companies, the reporter who ends up covering the gaming beat doesn't really want to if he's outside of our generation/not a gamer. He writes about gaming because he's been a technology reporter for X-number of years and he got stuck with it because the bosses don't know what else to do.
Help that poor tech reporter out and dazzle them all with your nerd brain.
If you can write well, and if you use your knowledge of gaming as a tool against their ignorance of gaming, it should be fairly easy to talk your way into some kind of gig.
But be wary: this is a degrading, wretched path - and you will fail many, many times. Your goal should not simply be to avoid failure. It should be to succeed when it counts.
Now, I have been very lucky in my career, and this is more or less how I came into my own position many moons ago. I am not saying that this abso-goddamn-lutely will work for you. But it worked for me. It's the best advice I can give.
Technology is our love and our weapon. Let's make it work for us in every conceivable way.
Remember: We need you.
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