Nick Pino - Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar.com - Come ask me anything about Games, Tech or working as a journalist in San Francisco!

Nick Pino
Nov 17, 2017

Hey guys,

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a tech editor? Want to know how to pitch people like me? Interested in learning how to be a freelancer? Come and ask me anything about gaming or tech journalism! 

You can learn more about me here: 






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How do you start off as a freelancer?

Nov 19, 11:20PM EST1

Love this one! Always happy to help here. =) 

The advice I gave down below is this: 

"Back in August I helped out with a project called PitchJam that helps aspiring freelancers learn how to pitch to editors. While helping out with the event I had some time to write out a step-by-step guide to becoming a paid game/tech journalist, which you can check out here: http://ggw.orbytl.com/how-to-be-a-successful-freelancer/

The TL;DR version is to find something you love, get experience writing about it on a blog or community forum, and then leverage that experience as a sort of visual resume that editors can use to commission articles from you. Also, don't forget to network!"

I'll add on that an internship or residency program are also great ways to get your feet wet in enthusiast journalism. 

Nov 20, 2:31PM EST0

Hey guys! Thanks so much for your many awesome questions. I'm online now, and I'll be around for the next few hours if you have any more. Really appreciate all the support and, hopefully, you'll find my answers insightful! 

Nov 17, 3:13PM EST0

How many readers does Tech Radar have?

Nov 17, 8:50AM EST1

A fair amount! Would have to dive into Google Analytics for the exact numbers, but most months we float around 30,000,000 unique visitors and ~60,000,000 pageviews. TechRadar isn't a name that really sticks with people, but it's nearly as big as sites like TechCrunch, Engadget and The Verge. 

Nov 17, 1:26PM EST0

What did you do before tech radar?

Nov 17, 6:39AM EST1

I was a video game journalist at a magazine called @GAMER. It was the official video game magazine of Best Buy! I was responsible for putting together the features, news and gear sections of the magazine, as well as writing reviews and previews. It was such an awesome time working on magazines. The last week before you shipped was stressful as hell, but at the end of the month you had a physical momento of all the hard work you did. Now, all I have are old webpages that no one visit. 😭

Nov 17, 1:29PM EST0

Did you study journalism?

Nov 17, 3:21AM EST1

I did not! I actually went to school in Buffalo, NY for a degree in computer science. I got my feet wet by writing for the school newspaper there. Really, really grateful for that opportunity! 

Side note: college newspapers don't get the credit they deserve. Yes, they're obviously not producing NYT-quality journalism, but they provide an incredible opportunity for students to get a feel for what it's like to work in a newsroom and without them, many of the best journalists in the world would have never had the skills they needed to be where they are today. 

Nov 17, 1:33PM EST0

Apple or Microsoft?

Nov 16, 9:27PM EST1

I use both! 

Computing has had so many rivalries over the years. Apple vs Microsoft. Android vs iOS. AMD vs Nvidia. Nintendo vs Sony. Etc, etc... 

I think people used to draw the line in the sand to have fun debates and keep themselves entertained. These days, it feels like these kinds of questions just leads to vitriol and hate. (Not that I'm accusing you of any of that!) 

I use Win10/7 all the time at home and really dig it, but I also have a work-issued Macbook Air that I couldn't live without. Both are great, and I don't think I could give up either. =)

Nov 17, 1:58AM EST0

Do you have to know English to be a freelancer?

Nov 16, 5:46PM EST1

I'd say that depends very much on the publication you'd like to write for - some publications are English-only and the editors are only proficient in one language, while others are published in two (or more!) languages.

As I've lived and worked in the US my entire life, the publications I've worked on have always used English-speaking freelancers.  But recently we've started to branch out and now you can find a few translated articles in Spanish: http://www.techradar.com/espanol

The short answer: No, you don't need to know English to be a freelancer.

Nov 17, 2:08AM EST0

What did you want to be as a kid?

Nov 16, 1:36PM EST1

Strangely, an archeologist. There was something about uncovering the nature of how things used to be that I found insanely interesting. 

But then I discovered video games and everything changed. 

From about 10 year old and onward, I knew I wanted to work in games. First I thought it'd be designing them but then in college I had the opportunity to critique them. One thing led to another and I found myself as an intern at Official Xbox Magazine. Seven years later and now I'm here! 

Nov 16, 2:51PM EST0

Do you develop games as well or just review and play?

Nov 16, 12:42PM EST1

Just review at the moment. I've pitched a few game ideas in the past, but never had the time / creative energy to see the project through. Development is an area I'd like to learn more about, though! Maybe one of these days my name will appear in the credits somewhere. ;) 

Nov 16, 2:53PM EST0

Now you’ve said it - how to pitch to people like you?

Nov 16, 12:04PM EST1

Ha! No I'm glad someone asked! It's a subject that PR people are really shy to ask about - and everyone thinks they have some sort of magical formula that will always work 100% of the time. 

As you might assume by reading that, I don't have a magical formula to getting journalists to respond to you. But personally, what gets my attention is someone taking the time to research the kind of articles I write (the topics I cover and what my stances on those topics are) and then using that information to strike up a conversation. 

One good intro might be: 

"Hey Nick, I saw you recently covered the Xbox One X. It was a great review and I found it really helpful! I know it's not exactly Xbox One X caliber, but I'm working on [blank] and I thought you might be interested in taking a look. I realize you're swamped, but I'd love to chat more about it when you get the chance."

This shows that you've read something of mine and know what I'd be interested in. It respects my time and kindly asks to connect. 

You can use that same template for any editor and it stands a good shot of working. =)

Nov 16, 2:59PM EST1

Do you write things outside of work?

Nov 16, 11:20AM EST1

I do! I'm part of a writing group here in SF that one of my friends started. We do a lot of creative flash fiction and alternate that with a longer novela-length story that we continuously flesh out. 

Will have more to share on that last part sometime in the future! Thanks for your question!

Nov 16, 3:01PM EST0

Don’t you think we (humans) are misusing technology? Or more like under using - we have more tech in our pocket than people had when they were figuring out cosmos and flying rockets and we share pictures of cats, isn’t that crazy? How do you explain it?

Nov 16, 11:16AM EST1

What does an editor do? How does your usual day go?

Nov 16, 10:17AM EST1

An editor's job changes from publication to publication, but I like to think all of them have three common roles: currator, wordsmith and storyteller. Editors are responsible for dictating the content that goes up on a site or in a magazine on a given day. In this way, they're curators approving which text they want readers to see, and which text they'd rather not show. Once stories are doled out to freelancers, it's up to the editor to actually edit the copy that comes in. The best editors aren't always the most verbose, but being an expert wordsmith is definitely more of an advantage than it is a disadvantage. Finally, editors are often asked to write the highest priority stories themselves - key interviews or, in my case, preview and review flagship products. 

My day differs all the time, but every day has those three components: writing, editing and commissioning new stories from freelancers.

Nov 17, 2:27AM EST0

What are your favourite games?

Nov 16, 10:10AM EST1

Ooph, dangerous question! Could ramble about this for ages ... but I'll spare you the intracacies and just go for a top 5 list. 

  1. Super Smash Bros. : Melee
  2. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  3. Legend of the Dragoon
  4. Pokemon Red/Blue
  5. Final Fantasy X

This list hasn't changed in close to a decade. Some games have come super close to making this list - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Super Mario Galaxy, for example - but these five games were the ones that really hooked me for months (years?) at a time. 

Nov 17, 2:14AM EST0

What is the best freelance site in your opinion?

Nov 16, 10:10AM EST1

So, story time, when I finished up at college, there were a few months that I was a freelancer. In that time, I was writing for three, maybe four, really indie publications that no one ever heard of. I think a lot of my friends thought it was a huge time suck, but I think it kept me really sharp while I was looking for a job. The website that I used to find all those jobs was: https://www.gamejournalismjobs.com/

I haven't found a tech equivalent of that site, but I'm sure there's one out there! 

Thanks for the question.

Nov 17, 1:36PM EST0

How is tech journalism different from other types of journalism?

Nov 16, 8:57AM EST1

You know, as I've only worked in tech and games, I'm not quite sure! Would love to sit down with my friends who work at places like UFC, Complex and Vogue to hear what their days are like. 

That being said, let me take a stab at it: 

Like other forms of journalism, tech journalism is about relationships and storytelling. Instead of getting to know sources, a lot of tech journalism is getting to know the folks who represent products you cover - i.e. getting to know the PR people at companies like Samsung, for example. You'll still need to cultivate relationships inside those companies for potential sources down the road, but the majority of relationship building is with the PR people that act as gatekeepers to the information you need to obtain for your readers. 

I think tech journalism - and game journalism, too - is more restrictive in  a lot of ways because PR people are really good gatekeepers. If they don't want you to find out something about a company, they'll do everything in their power to stop you. If they don't want you to get a product before it comes out, they can do that. Journalists have ways of 'fighting back' but my experience tells me that you get more from building these relationships rather than burn them. 

Nov 17, 1:45PM EST0

How long has the Tech Radar been going for?

Nov 16, 2:19AM EST1

It's 10 years already! Time flies when you're having fun, I suppose. 

Now, to be fair, I haven't been there since the beginning - only from mid-2014 until now. But since I've joined we've hit some really cool milestones: 2m users in one day and we just rolled past our 4 billionth page served a few weeks back. 4,000,000,000! That's nuts.

Nov 16, 4:43AM EST0

What would you advice beginner freelancers?

Nov 16, 12:36AM EST1

This is an awesome question - and one that I get fairly frequently!

Back in August I helped out with a project called PitchJam that helps aspiring freelancers learn how to pitch to editors. While helping out with the event I had some time to write out a step-by-step guide to becoming a paid game/tech journalist, which you can check out here: http://ggw.orbytl.com/how-to-be-a-successful-freelancer/

The TL;DR version is to find something you love, get experience writing about it on a blog or community forum, and then leverage that experience as a sort of visual resume that editors can use to commission articles from you. Also, don't forget to network! 

Nov 16, 4:49AM EST0

What is your favourite tech gadget?

Nov 16, 12:25AM EST1

Currently or ever? My favorite device that I use currently is probably the Xbox One S - really fantastic console that I think provides a great value for a lot of gamers. Of all time? Maaaybe the Motorola Razr. That was my first cell phone back in the early aughts and I loved it dearly! 

Nov 17, 2:54PM EST0

Hey, what are the most challenging and inspiring moments being a journalist?

Nov 15, 7:32PM EST1

The most challenging part of my job is definitely finding the time to cover everything - there are just so many great products (TVs, speakers, headphones, smart home gadgets and games) coming out all the time! 

I think the other challenge a lot of editors face is trying to stay relevant in the age of information. There are just so many places to consume news these days that it can feel like your stuff gets overlooked. (Hint: it doesn't, but readers do dwell on the page for shorter periods of time.) 

To answer the inspiration part of your question: I LOVE getting emails from readers. Often it's to help clarify something I've written or help compare experiences, but sometimes people write in just to tell me how much they liked a particular review or feature. That always feels awesome. Also a big source of inspiration for me as a person is my family back on the east coast - they're just super supportive of everything I do. 

Last edited @ Nov 17, 2:20AM EST.
Nov 16, 4:38AM EST0
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