By dantey 24 Comments
It has been less than a year that one Patrick Klepek joined the team, here on Giant Bomb. And, I don't know about you, but I feel he is a great addition to the editorial staff of this fine website. But, while have followed Jeff, Ryan, Brad and Vinny from their GameSpot days, I barely knew anything about Patrick. So this is a little interview I did with him about his past jobs, time at Whiskey Media, his news stories and little about gaming news in general. Hope you will enjoy it.
Me: I, and a lot of other people, were introduced to you during one of the Bombcasts. Back then, you did not work for Giant Bomb, so can you tell to those that don't know, where have you worked in the past, why that did not work for you and how did you come to Whiskey Media?
Patrick: The Bombcast from GDC, right? I don't think I was on before then. I've been around the block a few times on this side of the industry. Started attending E3 when I was 14, and mostly wrote for Gaming Age Online (www.gaming-age.com), which is the origin of NeoGAF. Much of Gaming Age went on to work at Ziff Davis Media, who at one point operated 1UP, EGM, GFW/CGW, GMR and others. My friends there would connect me with freelance when I was in college, and when I graduated, 1UP news editor Luke Smith left for Bungie and I took that position. About six months into that gig, Stephen Totilo offered me a chance to be the San Francisco correspondent for MTV News, which I accepted. I spent a year reporting there alongside Stephen and Tracey John, another talented reporter, before the recession hit and I was laid off. By that point, I'd surmised that having more experience on-camera would prove useful, so I interviewed with G4 and took a position as a news writer in Los Angeles, writing for their Feed blog, contributing to X-Play and co-hosting E3 the following year. EGM was rebooted during that time, and I was offered the chance to be a senior editor on the digital side. That proved to be a complete bust, a waste of a year of my life, and I began quickly looking for something new, which turned out to be Giant Bomb.
Me: Yes, it was the GDC podcast. But what do you mean by saying, that being a senior editor on the digital side of EGM was a bust?
Patrick: Well, I signed onto EGM as part of EGMi--the digital initiative. While it started out as a web service and remained a web service during my time at EGM, it was really an iPad app. I couldn't tell you why it took so long before the iPad app to launch, but it didn't come out until after I'd left. I can't say much more without getting into touchy legal ground, but I found the prospect of working on an all-digital magazine for a pioneering device to be a very lucrative opportunity, but I wasn't given many ways to contribute to how it actually came about, and so I decided to move on.
Me: So now you are here, at Giant Bomb. How has it been? How is the staff, the community? Is Luchadeer haunting you and threatening to shave off your hair?
Patrick: The transition from EGM to Giant Bomb could not have been more incredible. The community here is great--attentive, responsive, passionate--and the editors share the same values I do when it comes to creating content that you care about. Of course, Whiskey Media has to make money, but the underlying philosophy of Whiskey Media is making content that you believe in, and trusting there are other people who care just as much as you. It's been a very inspiring place to work, one that allows me to chase down my favorite pursuits, and I think it's created some of my best stories yet.
Me: Speaking of which, a lot of your stories are more like editorials on a specific topic. Like the first Crash Bandicoot game on Cryengine 2 or multiple stories about Team Bondi. How hard is it to find all these stories and information about them?
Patrick: By and large, I cover what I find personally interesting. It's why Giant Bomb was such an appealing place from the outside looking in, as they were approaching games coverage the same way I always wanted to. The more you're personally invested in telling a story, the more interesting it's going to be for the audience. That said, not every story I publish is The Most Interesting Thing Ever, but it tends to be my personal barometer. Also, I have a softspot for the watchdog role, and I've tried to go out of my way to chase down stories of consumers getting screwed by companies. Finding the information is easier than one would think, and is usually as simple as sending an email or a Facebook message. It's all about persistence.
Me: How hard was it to cover the Infinity Ward piece?
Patrick: Without diminishing what I accomplished with the story, it was largely a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I happened to have the best contacts for that story to break around, which allowed me to cover the breakup from both Infinity Ward and Activision's perspectives. It wasn't so much hard as it was exhausting, as I was trying to stay on top of the story as new developments broke, more memos came my way, and other reporters began to pick up where I'd left off. I'm not sure I'll ever have a story like that ever again, but I'll spend my whole career trying.
Me: Lastly, in your opinion, what is the state of news coverage in video games today?
Patrick: Things like Twitter have made it easier than ever to filter out the crap and focus on what you're interested in, especially in regards to writers and reporters who put out quality work. You don't have to follow an entire publication, you can simply follow someone you trust, and if that person breaks that trust, it's as easy as clicking "unfollow" to move on. That said, as a whole, we could be doing better, and focusing less on making sure people have something "new" to ready every five seconds. We've trained them to expect that, and it's what degrades the quality bar for most publications.
And that is it. I would like to thank Patrick once again for answering my questions. Have a nice day, duders.