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Introducing Startmenu: The students taking games journalism into their own hands

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A group of students has created a way to help others access the competitive games journalism industry.

A collaborative Discord server has been set up by the Gaming Editor of the University of Birmingham's Redbrick student paper, James Law.

The Startmenu Discord server is open to people who are trying to break into the world of games journalism and is being used as a collaborative tool to provide advice on topics like creating pitches, writing cover letters and making contacts.

'Startmenu logo' Image courtesy of James Law.

An assortment of text channels hosts numerous conversations, including general chat, gaming news, and journalism opportunities. Over 120 current members keep the server active daily.

James had the idea for the server a few months ago when he felt he was struggling to properly grasp how to begin approaching and writing for online publications.

James says: "You go to conventions, and you go to panels, and people give you advice on how you should pitch to publications and get paid for it, but often to me, it feels like you're the only person trying.

"So I thought I might as well see if there's interest in having a little bit of collaboration in trying to help each other out; giving each other pitching advice, tips and all that stuff. It's to try and help other people and ourselves get that support system we need."

Once the Discord was established with a few of the writers from Redbrick, James sent out a tweet inviting writers and editors to get involved with the collaboration project.

James (R), co-founder and Calypso (L), co-founder & created the graphics for Startmenu. Image courtesy of James Law.

The tweet received a tremendous response, with retweets from industry veterans like NoClip documentary founder Danny O'Dwyer and members of the Eurogamer team.

Interest poured in, and the Discord expanded greatly within a few days. James then decided to create a website for the Startmenu platform, where collaborators can publish and host their work.

"For a lot of student journalists, you've got the university paper, and that's about it - sometimes you can go on your own blog," James said. 

"It's good practice for people to be able to email our email address as practice for pitching to a 'real', professional publication like your PC Gamers, and all that. We want to hold that same sort of standard, that's why we have a style guide, and we have a process that you have to go through to get published."

If you're interested in getting involved with this collaboration project, you can either contact James directly via his Twitter or via the 'Work With Us' page on the Startmenu site.

Lead image: 'Startmenu logo' courtesy of James Law




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