Every time a game journalist is asked about how someone can get into the industry, they will inevitably mention writing talent in their answer. It's perfectly understandable. They are asked this question countless times, and probably more then half of the people asking are not amazing writers. Still, something about this seems a little arrogant to me.
Most of the time, game journalists will mention in their response that not everyone has writing talent, and that if you don't, you probably never will. I disagree with statements like this to the extent that in my opinion, it comes down to effort. Sure, a lot of writers are completely average and have no style of their own, but everyone can write.
You may not know proper grammar, spelling, or structure, but if you are really serious about writing, all of these skills can be learned. If everyone puts in the effort to grow as a writer, there's a plateau that they can reach. You might not have a unique style and talent at writing to excel above that point, but I think everyone can get there.
This is why I love Bitmob so much. It is giving young writers an outlet and an audience that is much greater then any they could create on their own blog. It's then up to each person what they will do with that, but it offers a place for them to be encouraged to read, learn and grow as writers. It is hard to keep writing consistently on a blog that nobody reads. At Bitmob you are given an audience no matter how little you write.
So why do game journalists discourage people from trying to reach that plateau from the very outset? Because previously, there was a very limited amount of seats available in the industry. Now however, sites like Bitmob offer a place for anyone that wants to put in the work.
So this is my open call to game journalist and former game journalists. There is no need to discourage anyone from trying to become a video game writer anymore. Let every single person you meet have that glimmer of hope, because it can only help them to get better.
When Ryan Scott openly mocks a persons writing on a live PAX panel, or when Shawn Elliott sends out tweets like this one, I groan. I understand why they do it. It's reactionary. They are trying to spare peoples feelings. In their minds 99% of the countless people they meet won't be able to get into the industry, but they are behind the times.
So please, change your ways. Encourage people to get better. Give them helpful pointers if need be. In this new era of gaming journalism, everyone has a place if they work hard enough, and no one who wants it that badly deserves to be left out because you made them feel like they would never be able to.