Sign in/sign up

5 Minutes with Jess McDonell

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on

Jess McDonell landed one of those ‘dream gigs’ for someone straight out of uni, getting to host daily games news videos for Gamespot’s worldwide audience out of their Sydney studio. With more than half a decade now as both a host and producer for Gamespot, we catch up for 5 Minutes of what makes Jess tick. You’re going to love her superpower.

What do you do and where does your work appear?
I'm a video producer and host for GameSpot.
Anything else in your career you’ve been known for?
I was hired right out of university (actually while I was still in university) but I was in a Foxtel ad once.
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
An actress for the first eighteen years. Then a psychologist, then an archaeologist, then a game developer. All of that would coalesce into my career in one way or another.
Which story or stories are you most proud of?
My pieces on how each major publisher is managing cross-play, mental health portrayal in video games, and the occasions I get to interview game developers and deep dive into the game creation process. 
What's your secret superpower?
An inability to not correct people who use the wrong 'your'.
What are three top tips you can give PR pros for working with you effectively?
Strong foundations built over casual catch-ups, an understanding of the brand and what we cover, and quick communication wherever possible.
How do you like to start a PR relationship if you've never been in touch before?
An in person catch-up over a drink.
What do you wish you'd never have to explain to readers ever again?
Reviews are subjective.
Name a recent story you wish you'd written.
Jake Dekker did an excellent video on the correct way to play The Witcher. It strikes the perfect balance of hilarious and informative which is really your sweet spot for much of the games journalism we do.
Who is the best journo in the industry and why?
As I'm primarily in op-eds and reviews, I admire great ex-Gamespot gaming writers like Kevin VanOrd and Carolyn Petit. Also the many documentarians who are killing it in video features. And honestly every one of my colleagues is an inspiration.
Which industry publications, podcasts or other productions are on your unmissable list?
On YouTube, Lessons From the Screenplay. Also, Day[9]'s livestreams, our GameSpot original programming, and anything Bon Appetit puts out which is a masterclass in production and brand-building.
How do you keep up with what your colleagues are writing?
Twitter, and just by virtue of being in production and loving my colleague's work, I see everything we publish.
Which app has changed your life more than any other?
Whatsapp for communication. And lately Tik Tok but I'm not ready to talk about just how much time it's taking from me lately. 
Favourite screen-free hobbies?
Picnics, walking, having a drink at the pub.
What's your best party trick?
My Stitch voice.
What’s your go-to song at karaoke?
Uptown Funk.
Favourite sporting moment?
Every glorious Sydney Swans win.
Have you ever been said to resemble a famous person or character? If so, who?
I've heard Kristen Stewart in her Twilight days and Aerith from Final Fantasy.
What's your favourite game of all time?
The Longest Journey.
Name five discs you'd want to be stuck with on a desert island?
Anything from Metric, Ariana Grande, something Taylor Swift assuming no-one can judge me by hearing it, Tame Impala, The National.
What was your favourite TV show of the 2010s?
Hannibal. Or Bojack Horseman. 
What vices do you lean into when you're chasing a tight deadline?
Not taking any breaks until what I have to do is done. So lots of meals are replaced with potato chips.
What's the most ridiculous buzzword in the industry?
Most of them. Game-changer. Revolution. Things that have lost their meaning.
The PR fairy calls saying you can have the interview of your dreams. Who's it gonna be?
Ragnar Tørnquist from Red Thread Games.

Membership privileges

  • Read and comment an all stories
  • Weekly digest of media and PR news (optional)
  • Post media releases to PRWire newswire
  • Advertise job vacancies
  • List your business in our PR directory

Please note that Influencing is used EXCLUSIVELY by media and influencers, as well as professionals who manage marketing and communications within their organisations, so we need a work email address.

More Media News

Hass Dellal stands down from SBS

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Dr Bulent Hass Dellal is stepping down as the chairman of SBS, effective 2 June 2020.

The exit is in line with the SBS Act which mandates board memberships of no more than ten years. 

Hass Dellal joined the team as director in 2010 but was reappointed for three more years in 2015. He had been acting chairman for a year when the board made his role permanent in 2017. The SBS board has yet to appoint a successor.

“I have had so many proud moments, in particular, during these unprecedented times as SBS has responded to the coronavirus pandemic. The content and services that SBS has been providing to keep so many Australians informed and safe exemplify its vital role and value to our society,” said Hass Dellal of his time in the company. 

“I want to thank everyone at SBS – the board, the executive team, and all of the incredible staff throughout the organisation – for their ongoing support. It has been a privilege to work with people so passionat

See you soon?

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
The baby steps toward seeing each other again in person have begun. For all the difficulties of life in isolation, the reopening process brings its own anxieties. Very small events are likely to be a starting place, given the rules. Though I guess in some cities you could book out a restaurant and have 50 guests at the event very soon? In others you still need to stay home.
I've had one company reach out to gauge sentiment ahead of planning anything in June. It was a very nice gesture, and afterward they said things were 50:50 on how comfortable people were feeling about coming to a real world event again. It's the early days, and I think it's a sensible worry that this first wave of reopening cities is when we have the least grasp on whether it will trigger new infections or not.
I think the most valuable lesson that can be taken forward relates to the column I wrote as it was all beginning. It would be a terrible shame if anyone tried to shake this off and

News Corp Australia shutters regional papers

By Elliott Richardson and Jonas Lopez in Media News on

NewsCorp Australia has dealt a massive blow to local news coverage after it announced a closing of 14 community newspapers and 22 regional papers, and a transition to digital for a further 100.

The content that some of the soon-to-be-closed titles carry will be reassigned to other mastheads.

The transition and closures come as the latest in a line of local news shutdowns, impacting thousands of journalists.

For many regional towns and cities, locals have long-relied on their local newspaper to keep them informed of important stories and events. 

While some will transfer to digital in order to keep the papers alive, many residents aren’t in the position to pay for a NewsCorp digital subscription, restricting their access to important local news.

Closures and digital transitions will come into effect on 29 June, as outlined below. Metro papers The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Melbourne Herald Sun, and The Adelaide Advertiser will be tweaked to carry more state c

Kiama Community Radio to go live

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The NSW south coast will have a new digital radio station next month, called Kiama Community Radio.

Radioinfo reported that a number of local residents have volunteered to work on the new endeavour, which is aimed at listeners in the Kiama LGA from Minnamurra to as far west as Jamberoo. 

The team spent the past month on crowdfunding efforts, and is planning a one-hour weekly show over its official website, then expanding the content to webcasting and podcasts. Actress Diana McLaren has agreed to host the new show.

“The idea for KCR came about when we were all suddenly told to stay home, and all the ways we usually connect to each other were taken away from us, particularly for the older generations within our community. There’s a lot of global information available right now, but nothing that is specific to our own backyard,” said Graeme Gerashe, a member of the station’s organising team. 

“We are hoping that this new service will reignite ou

Print IT! B2B magazines May 2020

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on
The April-May Information & Data Manager has quite a few insights into government data management, including efforts to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. One story looks at Georges River Council's rapid digital transformation. What had been planned as a phased transition over two years was executed in "around a week" to deal with the situation. Naturally, it's an ongoing process but it's an interesting look at whether ripping the band-aid off might be a better path in future. Another nice local IDM story explores what the Turnbull autobiography leak means for document management in publishing.
The latest Electrical Comms Data takes a close look at security on a number of fronts, leading with a feature by Editor Amy Steed on the rise of smart home devices and the questions around their security. The story talks to Swinburne researchers about the kinds of flaws their research is finding in these devices, such as memory leaks that create vulnerabil

Wimmera Mallee News introduces Horsham Times

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The Wimmera Mallee News in Wimmera, Victoria, has added a new publication to its roster, called the Horsham Times.

Premiering on May 29, the Horsham Times is actually a revival of the first Horsham Times that was in print from 1886 to 1959 when it merged with the West Wimmera Mail to become the Wimmera Mail-Times. 

The Mail-Times, however, was among the ACM titles shut down last month over lower ad revenues, along with sister titles Stawell Times-News and Ararat Advertiser, and Horsham residents needed fresh news and information. 

Wimmera Mallee News managing editor David Ward said the plan calls to hire six people for the new Horsham Times’ editorial board and lease office space in Horsham proper. 

He also sees the move as a link to the past. 

"In the 1890s my great-grandfather George Ward came to Horsham and worked on the Horsham Times and ended up being the owner. The name was available and we felt there was a really strong family connection there

Subject Line Real Estate Is A Precious Resource

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on


"[Company Name] Announcement"
That's the actual subject line of a press release email I received yesterday. It's... not good. But it's also not the worst I've seen in recent times.
The worst are those that put in so much preamble that the content of the subject is hidden because there's no email software on Earth that shows more than the first 12 words (if the words are short).
"Press Release: New tool helps measure sustainability impact..."
What's the tool? Who is making it? Is there a wow stat lurking inside? Don't tease me. Don't build suspense. Don't make me think. Just hit it fast and hard. Why should I open this email? What is your company announcing that means I want to write about it?
It's vital to remember that our job is not reading your emails. It is finding the best stories to write for our audience on whatever timeline we need to work under.
We don't read

More News latest

Bench PR welcomes new consultants and APAC client
Bench PR has signed new consultants and an APAC client.

Daylight scores new clients
The Daylight Agency has new accounts to work on.

Daydream Nation open for business
Entertainment PR agency Daydream Nation opens its doors.

Adhesive lands WW account
Adhesive PR commits to WW deal.

MrC lands new clients
New clients are in at MrC.