Alumna Rebekah Valentine honored with Journalist of the Year award

Dec 10, 2020
Rebekah Valentine

Newman University alumna Rebekah Valentine ‘13 has been presented with the gameHERs Journalist of the Year award.

GameHERs is a women-led community whose “mission is to advance the role, voice, image, and power of all the gameHERs in the gaming world.”

The 2020 gameHERs virtual awards ceremony was held Nov. 19 followed by eight weeks of speakers and panelists presenting at different online sessions.

The awards show aired on the community’s Twitch account. Valentine’s acceptance speech can be viewed a the 1:36:26 mark.

Valentine was recognized for her overall portfolio of work, which she does for the online publication Her job is to write articles relating to the business world of gaming. Her articles range from discussing what companies are making which games and their various business moves to featuring developers’ design philosophies and their new ideas.

Her daily workload averages three to five stories daily with some updating and editing to others as needed. Even though the award was presented for her overall portfolio, Valentine said there were a few in-depth breaking stories she has written during the year, involving months of investigative work, that she is particularly proud of.

An article on how the company GameStop was strategizing to adapt to a dying retail shopping culture, an in-depth investigation of a UK gaming quality assurance company’s mistreatment of its workers over the last year, and an opinion piece on how a major video game company is trying to weaponize an audience of children in a legal battle of its own making.

The more in-depth, investigative pieces are some of her favorite as she appreciates and looks forward to the extra challenge and work that goes into each article.

Valentine said she was surprised and humbled to be awarded the honor, noting that other nominees in her category were women whom she admires and strives to constantly learn from by following their work.

“It is wild to me that I won any kind of recognition,” she said. “I write about the business of games. It’s pulling info out of big thick documentation or files that can seem boring to others, but I think that’s exciting.

“It’s wild that the stuff I do gains recognition in the gaming community and knowing they value what I do means a lot and I’m grateful. And now my reaction is, ‘It’s time to get better.’”

A career in journalism is something Valentine didn’t consider until she was encouraged by a Newman professor and her husband.

She was working as a technical writer for an aviation training company in Wichita, Kansas, writing tutorials for potential pilots. Although she enjoyed her job, she said something was missing.

Bill Berg, husband of Newman communication professor Suzanne Berg, mentioned how much he enjoyed writing for a sports website as a side job. That website had a sister site focused on gaming and he encouraged her to try it out.

Gaming was a hobby of hers, so she thought, “Why not?”

She started freelance writing for the site, constantly pushing herself to improve her writing. She was soon promoted to an editor position and started attending gaming conferences to learn even more.

That’s when she decided a full-time gig as a writer was her calling. She found, and the rest is history.

“I get a little giddy trying to discover things — reading through financial reports, finding new things to learn and discover. I like hunting down stories. It’s fun and energizing.”

Valentine doesn’t ever want to stop learning and improving.

“I want to become a better reporter. That means talking to more people, building a larger network of contacts. Being a better reporter means becoming a more empathetic listener. Advancing my skills, having the ability to interview and knowing where the stories are — that’s what makes journalism exciting to me.”