This past year, Rebekah Valentine, a 2013 graduate from Newman University, landed a job as a news reporter at IGN Entertainment, one of the leading online media companies for video games and entertainment. She recently moved from Kansas City to San Francisco for the position.
While she loved her previous role as a staff writer for GamesIndustry.biz — a video game trade publication — the chance to work for IGN was one Valentine couldn’t pass up.
“You don’t really get an opportunity like this all the time,” she said.
Diving into IGN
IGN has a large team, and Valentine is looking forward to getting into its newsroom and working side-by-side with her colleagues.
Valentine said that IGN’s editor-in-chief, Tina Amini, sold her on her vision of building a strong news reporting team at IGN — something Valentine really wanted to be part of.
“It’s an interesting mishmash of very serious journalism in a space that most people think of as lighthearted,” Valentine said.
Having elements of her work that focus on critical issues in the video game industry fits her passion for making a difference.
“That’s the kind of work I want to do,” she said. “I have an opportunity to do things that are important for people and make their lives better, hopefully, or make people think about issues a little more deeply.”
A career made by accident
Valentine has been interested in video games since her childhood but she never thought she’d make a career of it.
“I didn’t go to college to become a video game writer,” she said. “That wasn’t the plan.”
Instead, Valentine attended Newman to study English and philosophy, thinking she may later decide to pursue a master’s or doctorate to become an English teacher. After she graduated, though, she decided against jumping into graduate school. Valentine took on a couple of jobs simply to pay the bills while she figured out what she really wanted to do.
One evening, she was at the house of late Newman communication professor Suzanne Berg. During dinner, Suzanne’s husband Bill, who wrote for a sports site, mentioned that it also had a gaming site that was looking for writers. Because video games were a hobby of Valentine’s, she took the chance and started freelance writing for the site.
“It was this whole world of entertainment and art that I had not thought too deeply about before beyond just a hobby,” Valentine said. “I discovered that writing about it and later on doing more serious reporting about how those video games get made is something that’s very interesting to me and something that I loved.”
A strong toolbox
She credits Newman and the professors in its English department for helping lay the foundation for what has become a successful career writing for the video game industry. Valentine said that her professors did an exceptional job of teaching her how to think, write, critically assess and engage with the world and media — lessons that have weaved their way into her current work.
“It’s fascinating how much of it, I think and hope, makes me very good at my job,” she said.
And, indeed, she’s exceptional at her job, as evidenced by the gameHERs Journalist of the Year award she received in 2020.
Looking to the future, Valentine is eager to continue honing her craft and dive even deeper into the world of video games as a news reporter for IGN.
Alumna Rebekah Valentine honored with Journalist of the Year award
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.”
Newman alumnus publishes short story
Jeff Baker’s advice for writers is to persevere and not take rejection personally — two recommendations he takes to heart himself.
Recently, that hard work paid off.
Baker, who graduated from Newman in 1983 with a communications degree, published a short story titled “Solar Pons and the Testament in Ice” in the anthology “The Necronomicon of Solar Pons: Lovecraftian Tales of the Sherlock Holmes of Praed Street.”