99 choices, one mentee

It has been nearly a month since I announced my video game journalism mentorship idea.

Back on July 6, I tweeted that I wanted to try and give someone a helping hand, the same sort of helping hand I received when I was a young journalist trying to land a professional job. I’m still hacking away at how exactly I’m going to teach and work with the mentee, a process that I hope to continue with the person I’ve selected.  But I have decided on who I want to mentor.

Before I tell you who, I have to make it clear just how hard this decision was.

When I asked for people interested in a game journalism mentorship to apply, I expected maybe a dozen applications. Instead I received nearly 100. And it was a interesting mix of people.

More than half had journalism experience, with six percent of those racking in more than five years experience. More than a quarter of the applicants worked in the game industry. Most applied out of an interest in reporting, though a close second was a desire to improve their writing. A third of the applicants said they’d be available every day of the week to meet and more than 70 percent said they could devote four to six hours toward the program weekly. Most people seemed to want the program to run four to six months.

The demographics, while not something I required people to respond to, were also interesting. Just seven percent of the applicants were women and most of those applying were 21 to 25 years old.

The most fascinating and most heartening part of the process of going through all of those applications was reading why people wanted to apply, why they wanted to be journalists, why they wanted to cover video games. If this group of 99 is a cross-section of the up-and-coming generation of game journalists, then video games and the people who play and make them are in good hands.

They told me of their love of art, of the emotional impact gaming has had on them, of a video game’s ability to delve into society in a way only games can. They want to tell stories. They wan’t to inform. They’re hungry to tear down complex ideas, examine them and then take those conceptual building blocks and create something new, something informative, something that can spark change.

When I feel beaten down by the daily grind, or start to ponder the worth of my job, I know where I’ll look for inspiration from now on: These 99 applicants, these 99 voices, this school of young journalists eager to inform and tell stories.

If I didn’t select you don’t take it as some sort of rejection. I decided to offer this to one person and one person only to make it clear that I wasn’t selecting the only possible candidate. You’re all very much worth mentoring and one day, if I can make things work out, maybe I can be the lucky one to mentor you. Until then, keep writing, keep reporting, and feel free to bug me. I’m always here.

And now for that name.

Andrea Ayres-Deets.

I messaged her right before writing this, to make sure she was still up for the idea, and she sounds very excited to get started.

I am too.

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