GMA Hall of Fame: Jonathan Pile

As we head towards this year’s Games Media Awards on Thursday October 18th, we look back at previous winners to find out what winning meant to them, what advice they’d give to rookie games journalist, their favourite writers and more.

This week, we speak to Jonathan Pile, news editor of Shortlist, which won the award for Best Games Coverage in a Mainstream Magazine in 2011…

How did it feel to win a Games Media Award last year?

It was a bit overwhelming, to be honest. Every magazine we were up against covers games so well in their own way. To win and go up on stage to collect the award was an exhilarating experience.

What do the GMAs mean to the games press community?

They obviously mean a lot – demonstrated by the fact it’s the one night of the year you can be pretty much guaranteed to see everyone. The ShortList team were delighted with our wins – both of our awards are displayed proudly in our reception.

Other than winning a GMA, what has been your biggest achievement to date?

The sensible answer is that just doing what I do for a living is amazing. But in 1993 I scored a goal against Paris St Germain’s Under 11 team. We drew one-all. England fast bowler James Anderson gave away a penalty in the last minute which they equalised from

Which of your competitors do you admire, and why?

It’s a cop out to say all of them” isn’t it? But there isn’t just one mainstream journalist I could single out and it’s better than saying none of them”, so I’m going to have to go with all of them”.

Who’s your favourite non-games writer?

The one columnist I always try to read is Jay Raynor.

What’s the best press trip you’ve been on?

E3 is always a fun week, but the best gaming press trip I’ve ever been on was driving muscle cars up Highway 1 for Driver: San Francisco. And saying that reminds me I still haven’t sent Tom Wiggins the photos.

What’s the best advice youve been given?

As a writer, it’s this:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

And what advice would you give to someone hoping to work in the games media space?

Let your passion shine through. And don’t be afraid to ask questions – I’ve been a journalist for eight years and I’m still learning.

If you weren’t working in games media, what would you be doing?

Professional footballer.

Who would be your Games Media Award Legend?

Journalists can be a demanding lot so, to be honest, it’s people like Caroline Miller who work so hard every year to put on what they hope will be a great event.

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