Marie Dealessandri is former MCV writer and journalist and now writes for GamesIndustry.biz, one of the leading platforms for game industry global news. GamesIndustry.biz also curates the Best Places To Work Awards, the Career Fair at EGX and the GamesIndustry 100. Marie heads their recently launched subdivision Academy which offers content to help people with their games career and business, especially for those at the start of their journey. We asked Marie some key questions about getting into the games sector.
Explain your role like I'm 5 years old
I'm a journalist for the GamesIndustry.biz Academy, an industry-focused guides section on a variety of topics, from how to get a job in the business, to how to build video games, and how to fund, monetise and promote them.
Take us through your average day at work
My day starts with a news shift. So before I get into any bigger projects, my task is to write up a few news stories, which is a great way to get started with your day, have a feel for what's happened in the industry while you were asleep.
Once news is tackled (the entire team pitches in), I usually move on to either research work for upcoming articles, or interviews, or writing a feature. As much as I would like every day to be a full day of writing, there's a lot of preparation going into writing an article, and the section I work on in particular requires a lot of prep, so that takes up a lot of my time.
I usually juggle a couple of big projects at once, plus several smaller articles, and there's also the constant flow of emails that you need to tackle, events that you need to cover, and working with clients on sponsored content. So I start most days with a clear objective in mind, but have to be very flexible and adapt to whatever the day brings.
What was your educational and career journey into your current role?
As a non-native English speaker, I studied English for three years at uni, alongside political science. I then moved on to studying journalism (in English) for another couple of years. I believe that studying journalism gave me solid foundations and a far-reaching understanding of what the job entails. It essentially prepared me to do any type of journalism and be very versatile — I’ve done quite a few different journalist jobs in the span of my career. I didn't have any experience in games before joining the industry but had been a journalist for a few years already, so I had the skills.
What do you love most about your role?
It is fascinating to me to hear about the people who makes games and the craft that goes into it. You meet a lot of amazingly talented people and it's very enriching, you learn a lot. Also, working in B2B media, you are sometimes able to challenge the industry on difficult topics, which is extremely important to me. Finally, for the section I work on specifically, being able to deliver articles helping people to get into the industry or improve their knowledge of it is something I take very seriously.
What's the hardest thing about your role?
The pressure to deliver can be quite intense, and you have to be very well-organised to juggle very diverse tasks. As a journalist, you can also be quite exposed to criticism from completely random people. On a separate note, getting feedback on your work from your peers is extremely healthy and is the best way to make progress, but there's no denying that it can sometimes be a bit tough. You have to learn to not take it personally - you are not your work.
What key skills should people work on to do your role one day?
Curiosity is No.1 for me - to be a journalist, you need to have a natural inclination to learn more about what's around you. Organisation and flexibility are No.2 - I put them together cause while you do need to be very well-organised to handle everything, you need to be flexible with it because if some breaking news does happen, you might have to drop everything. Also - and quite obviously - you need to be able to write. But that comes with practice and accepting feedback on your work (and lots of reading!)
What advice would you give to your younger self looking to get started in the industry?
Don't be obsessed about being a games journalist straight after uni - just try to be a journalist to start with, build experience, skills and knowledge that you can then bring to the table later down the line. I did a lot of things before I actually finally got into games and these experiences made me a better journalist because I learnt things from a wide range of publications and media.
Do you have any links to good articles or videos that you think might give some tips or advice to someone starting in your role?