Managing Editor, MobileSyrup
Patrick O'Rourke, School of Journalism '11, is Managing Editor at MobileSyrup.
What do you do?
I’ve been a tech and general news-writer for Canada.com since late 2012. I cover a lot of gaming- and streaming video-related content (Netflix and cord cutting stuff).
Editor's note: since this interview, Patrick O'Rourke has moved on to become Managing Editor at MobileSyrup.
How did you land the job?
I honestly got really lucky. I applied to a bunch of places and didn’t really hear back from any of them. Then Postmedia (Canada.com’s parent company) finally got back to me. I was an intern there in fourth year and did a few contract positions there after my internship, but wasn’t hired full time. I think it was a matter of having the correct skill set and timing really.
What attracted you to tech writing?
I’ve always known a lot about tech. It’s what I’ve wanted to be since I was a kid, especially writing about video games. I used to read Nintendo Power and Electronic Gaming Monthly when I was super young. What I’m doing right now is my dream job.
How do you think your journalism degree has helped you?
If I didn’t go to [the university] and take journalism, I wouldn’t be as good a writer as I am today. It gave me a lot of fundamental backing. The program was kind of behind the times when I was there though, I had to learn stuff like WordPress and promoting my own content on referral sites completely on my own. The industry is changing and a lot of what I do today, especially online stuff, wasn’t part of the program when I was in it. I’ve heard it’s caught up now, though.
Any fun memories from j-school?
I got a brutal critique in first year that was a little shocking. In the end, I think it made me a better writer, though.
What did you do after you graduated from the university?
Well, I couldn’t really find a full-time, journalism-focused job. I think only a handful of people from my graduating class ended up with jobs in actual journalism — I could be wrong though. I went back to school for a PR (public relations) graduate program at Centennial College, but then landed the job I have now at Postmedia. In between going to Centennial and finishing my internship at Canada.com, I did a few contract positions at Postmedia and a lot of freelance work for gaming websites.
Do you have any advice for people studying journalism right now?
Yeah, actually. My big regret is that I didn’t really build a portfolio while in school. I did lots of blogging for video-game websites, and had a video-game blog, but not until third year. I never really got stuff published in the Eyeopener or other campus papers. I’ve always been into tech-focused writing, and that’s not really what campus papers are about though. So yeah, definitely get involved in that. And also, try and stay in touch with people, especially supervisors from internships and other jobs.
Final question – Xbox or PlayStation?
I’ve been an Xbox fan for most of my life, but after going hands-on with the PS4 a few times, I’m starting to lean more toward that console. It really comes down to what games you actually want to play, though. Each console has different exclusive titles.
Grads at Work is a series of profiles of School of Journalism alums. If you know of a notable grad you’d like to see featured, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.