Chris Wallace, junior PR manager at Dead Good Media (and former steward of this feature), explains how being a journalist can help if you’d like to go into PR, and how games careers are often more about proven work than anything else.
What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?
As a Junior PR Manager at Dead Good, I’ve transitioned from being a journalist who ignores emails from PRs to being the PR who’s forever grateful that not all journalists are like me. My apologies to everyone who had to deal with me. My workload can vary depending on the projects I’m working on, but most weeks I’ll be liaising with clients, preparing press releases, sending out review codes and other materials to press, as well as tracking any and all coverage for the titles I’m working on.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land your job?
In my experience, most games careers (in journalism and PR, at least) rarely require much in the way of qualifications — it’s more about proven work, the right attitude and developing your industry contacts. I do have a degree in Magazine Journalism, but my time working at a certain UK games industry trade magazine (I forget the name) has proven to be infinitely more valuable to my career than any degree ever has. The games industry might be enormous – but it can feel surprisingly small, especially in the UK. If you’re able to get your foot in the door, you’d be surprised how quickly the right people take notice – so long as you work reliably and behave professionally, anyway.
If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?
As a new starter myself it’s difficult to say, but by far the most satisfying thing I’ve found about working with my new colleagues is their understanding of the games industry and media landscape. It’s not enough to just like video games – you need to develop an understanding of the industry in general, as well as the ability to make and maintain professional relationships in all areas of the industry.
That said, passion is essential — you need to “give a shit,” as it was put to me in my interview for Dead Good. People come to work in the games industry for the love of the medium — if you don’t take pride in your work, then not only are you letting your team down, but there’ll be plenty of people who would be more than happy to take your place.
What opportunities are there for career progression at Dead Good PR?
Lots! In fact, my colleague Bonnie was promoted in my first week here. It’s a large part of why I joined Dead Good (and PR in general), actually. During my time as a journalist, I came to realise that what I valued most out of my career was my proximity to the games industry, and the people who work within it. As well as it seeming like a natural progression from my journalistic experience, PR is proving to be a more sustainable way of keeping me in the industry that I love. I have a much healthier work/life balance now, and plenty of opportunities to grow — both in terms of my responsibilities but also in terms of the money I take home at the end of each month.