This year’s Games Media Awards on October 15th will see the games media vote on the night for their ‘Journalists’ Journalist’, from a shortlist of six industry standouts.
Ahead of the big night, MCV chats to nominee Julia Hardy about the importance of treating the gaming industry with respect as it continues to grow – and what she’s doing to spread her passion for games to others.
For the unaware, who are you and what do you do?
I am a freelance presenter and writer who does a weekly gaming and tech segment on Sky News Sunrise, as well as working for Jamal Edwards’ SBTV online channel.
Most recently, I did a documentary for Radio One called ‘Rockstar Gamers’ which looked at the rising careers of personalities who play video games for a living. It was apparently one of the most popular Radio One stories and even got trending on Twitter.
I’ve also just started hosting a weekly eSports roundup for GiffGaff’s new League of Legends Tournament.
What does it mean to be nominated for the Journalists’ Journalist prize at this year’s GMAs?
I was a bit unsure what it meant initially. I thought perhaps it was a ‘who watches the Watchmen’ deal, like I was going to have to be a hall monitor all year or something.
Seriously though, it is a great honour even just to be nominated; there are people I really admire and respect in this category and I wouldn’t feel bad to lose out to any of them.
I feel somewhat like a bit of a games journo’ vagabond sometimes because of the kind of work I do, so I feel really lucky to be accepted just as I am by the industry.
What is the importance of recognising the achievements of the games media?
The general public need to know (and see) that we all take great pride in our work, that we all have such genuine passion for gaming and also that we take our integrity very seriously.
As gaming becomes more mainstream (which it will), it’s even more important that we treat our work with the respect it deserves – as if we don’t, no-one else will either.
It is also really important to take stock once a year and look back at all that has passed, to see just what great work the people I admire have created and generally remind ourselves to feel very lucky to be part of such a great industry.
"As gaming becomes more mainstream, it’s even more important that we treat our work with the respect it deserves – as if we don’t, no-one else will either."
Which parts of the industry are you most interested in covering and why?
In terms of what I do day-to-day, it’s not so much one part that I get to concentrate on – it’s more the angle of where I want it to go.
My big dream and desire is to get gaming more accepted, not only in the mainstream media, but also to remove the negative stigmas that have been attached to it for so long.
I’ve actively sought out work that would allow me to talk and influence the world outside of gaming, so that my passion will hopefully infect others and show all the positives that gaming can bring into your life.
On a side note: I’ve turned Sky News Sunrise host Stephen Dixon into a gamer, I was well pleased with that collar.
What games are you looking forward to this Winter?
I’m super excited about next year’s early launches especially, but this year it’s got to be Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I love that franchise more than words can say and it’s brought me more gleefully joyful gaming than any other.
There’s also Dragon Age: Inquisition – who doesn’t love a medieval adventure, whilst trying to score? It certainly makes the battles more fun as you try to protect your boyfriend mid-battle and say hang-it-all to the strategy you initially set out with.
Finally, there’s Far Cry 4. It looks like so much fun – plus, the villain looks like Michael Gapper’s older uncle…
What are the biggest changes currently affecting the face of games media?
I think the weird witch-hunt against games journalists – you know, as ‘we’re all so corrupt’ etc – is having a damaging effect.
This, coupled with a push for content created by ‘non-journos’ on YouTube, is really straining things.
Whilst YouTubers might have the outside perspective of being untainted, inevitably (and it already has happened) there will be the point where they will have to make money to keep their businesses going.
That’s not a bad thing; it’s just that they will come to the point where we are now. It’s inevitable.
This is a period of flux and until these new models settle we won’t have a perfect idea of just how things will work out long term.
I do think that video will take over, but I also think that there will always be a place for well-researched and well-thought out content.
That should work side-by-side with more ad-hoc, shoot-from-the-hip-style video content. I don’t see them as being in direct competition.