When asked to explain his career, Fragbite.com editor John Gooderson doesn’t have much trouble unpacking the editing and writing part. But when it comes to filling the uninitiated in on what esports is, he still gets a few funny looks.
Usually, Gooderson can wipe them away by gradually explaining what a booming and diversifying industry esports is. The UK-based editor and writer is part of a growing number of journalists and storytellers covering gaming happenings in every corner of the world. Read on for Gooderson’s story of how he volunteered his way out of retail and into esports.
Find Your Grind: Tell us about yourself and your background, John.
John Gooderson: I’m 28, from North West, United Kingdom, and my progression into esports was gradual. I’ve been in and around esports for around nine years, but I’ve been gaming for much longer. My playing in online leagues led to me volunteering for one back in 2009 as an admin for online cups and tournaments.
In 2011, I joined a UK-based organization called TCM-Gaming as a volunteer writer for their website, and this took me to my first LAN events, where I really got the bug. Throughout this time, as I was only volunteering I was also working full time in retail, and I took a year away from esports as I simply didn’t have the time.
I was worried that my stint in esports was coming to an end, but I knew I wanted to stay involved, so I ended up, once again in a voluntary position, working for Ninjas in Pyjamas in 2015, as a content creator for the website and photographer. This was the real step into esports. Working with one of the biggest names in European esports gave me opportunities to attend Counter-Strike majors and get to know people who were working full-time in esports.
Thanks to a contact I had made whilst working for NiP, who recommended me to Fragbite, in October 2017 I was offered a full-time position in esports, as editor of the English-speaking portion of Fragbite.com.
FYG: How would you describe your job to someone who knows nothing about what you do?
JG: This happens quite a lot, especially as I was quitting my retail job to take on this new position. I proofread and edit new articles for the website, as well as write myself. That bit most people understand. But I often find myself explaining what esports or professional gaming is to people. You find some people laugh or scoff at the idea, until you can explain the potential salaries and scale of the events involved.
FYG: What kind of experience or degree would someone need to get a job like yours? How did you obtain that experience/degree?
JG: Personally I didn’t have a degree; I have always had an ability for proofreading and editing, and I enjoyed reading a lot when I was younger, which gave me a way with words. But it was through time and voluntary work that I honed my skills and was able to showcase my talents. Had I had a degree in English or journalism, I feel the journey would have been much faster. I was turned away from some positions due to other people having the degrees I didn’t. But at the end of the day, hard work and craft is needed just as much.
FYG: What advice would you give to kids in high school, especially kids from rural areas, who want to get into esports?
JG: Don’t worry about the distance involved. Two of the companies I’ve worked for, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fragbite, are based in Sweden, and that hasn’t been a barrier. Esports is a truly global industry, and much of it takes place online, so don’t give up your dreams because of feeling out of the way.
FYG: What kind of lifestyle does your career allow you to live? What sort of salary and work environment can people typically expect from a position or field like yours?
JG: I get a good work/life balance from my job. It can be tough at times, as I work from home, and that is very hard to get used to at first. You have to try and keep yourself on track and motivated. When you both work and play on the computer, it can be easy to let it run into one and overwhelm you.
The hours can be long. If there is a tournament on, you’ll need to stay up late watching it no matter the continent where it’s occurring. However, for me, this isn’t an issue; I love to watch them and this allows me to fulfill that. With the job comes the opportunity to travel. I’ve been to events in different places around Europe, experiences new cultures and meeting new people, which is the main highlight for me.
FYG: What strengths, skills, or character traits do you think are most important for your position?
JG: For my position as an editor, a keen eye for detail and a clear understanding of the English language.
As a writer, the ability to convey your thoughts and experiences in clear English, keeping in mind that more likely than not, people who are consuming your content will not necessarily be a native English speaker.
Creativity is also a helpful trait, as you will need to come up with articles to write and cover. Some will come to you. Some you will have to work for.