Monday, 25 July 2011

Interview with Journalist, Vaughn Highfield.

For those that may not know Vaughn, he is a budding Journalist like myself and usually goes by the online username: Starfox118. Unlike me however, he has a fancy college degree in Modern History. As I write this I can tell you all that Vaughn is probably recovering from a bad hangover from his college graduation night this past Saturday. I can only sympathize.

Vaughn is the master behind such blogs & Make sure to check out some of his work there. Currently trying to get into a permanent job Vaughn has helped a lot over the past few months on TheGamersHub and especially with TheGamersHub magazine. I interviewed Vaughn recently, here is what happened when I met up with him:

First off, how are things?

Things are alright thanks, feeling a little bit jaded after having done like nothing all day.

So, tell us a bit about you.

Well what is there to say really; I’m 21, a passionate gamer and a budding journalist.
And I’ve spent literally the last couple of days sorting my life out since moving home.

You recently graduated from college. Can you tell us a bit about your years
there and what you studied?

Of course I can! I studied Modern History, and no before you say it Modern History isn’t
history that happened the other day. It’s a noun so it’s a name of a period of time, in
particular the French Revolution up to the fall of the USSR. My three years at Uni were
amazing. Full of fun, drink and lots of gaming alongside studying; I also took part in the
student newspaper over the three years, eventually ending up being the Editor for the
Games and Technology section, Wired.

What was it like working on the College newspaper?

It was pretty good fun. Quite relaxed really, the team was great and we all got along
really well so it was nice and easy to get things organized.

Tell us what you had to do on a daily basis when you were working there.

Well the paper’s rota was every fortnight so one week would be spent drawing up ideas
for the issue and looking at news, and then the second week would be spent waiting for
the articles to come in and also laying up and tweaking the pages. Daily wise it would be
contacting companies and PR people for latest news and promos for the reviewers.

Has it always been your dream to write?

For a considerable amount of time it has been yeah. I used to want to be an Astronaut
when I was a kid, however I came to a decent realization and changed tact quite young.
I used to want to go down the path of games development and programming however
upon discovering the joy of reading and informing people I decided that I wanted to be a
journalist and help inform others and entertain them at the same time.

When did you first fall in love with writing?

Oof… probably around the age of fourteen or so I’d say. I used to write some things when
I was younger and even compile little books of information about games that I could
refer to. However it wasn’t until I really got into History and English in High School that I
loved writing and reading.

I understand that you work on TheGamersHub magazine for
TheGamersHub, can you tell us a bit about that?

Well I kinda slid into it. Dan was, and still is, the one in charge of it but due to my skills
with Adobe InDesign through being an editor for the newspaper I offered to lend a hand
and have stepped in when Dan hasn’t been able to do it. All I really do is proof read the
articles and make sure they flow, then grab some high quality images and lay it all up on
the pages and make it look pretty. If it doesn’t catch the eye then people are less inclined
to read the articles on the pages unless they are generally interested in everything

Now, onto the fun stuff.

What is your earliest memory of video games?
Well the earliest memory of me owning and playing a game was opening up my original
Game Boy and playing Super Mario Land 2: Mario and the Six Golden Coins. Crazy times,
before that it was playing Return of the Jedi on my friends Super Nintendo.

Favorite game of all time?

Hard question that one. I would have to say its Final Fantasy VII by Squaresoft, however
there have been some completely immense games over the years but Final Fantasy
VII has just always done so much for me, probably because its tied in with childhood

What are you currently playing?

I’ve been doing a lot of switching between games lately, starting new ones and playing
old ones too. Wipeout HDFury is generally what I play on a near daily basis. However I
bought Borderlands GOTY today along with Echochrome II and Outlander so I’ve been
playing them lately too, absolutely loving Borderlands.

Favorite character of all time?

I’m really not sure about this one. I used to love Sephiroth (again due to the FFVII love),
and I would still probably say I do. There have been some close contenders lately, such
as GladOS from Portal and I used to love Crash Bandicoot until his games became pretty
awful. Also, cant forget Link!

Do you have a Smartphone? If you do, what games do you play on it?

I do have a smartphone, however it’s a Blackberry and I don’t use it for games… Tetris? I
just don’t think games on smartphones are really worth the time, I prefer playing games
on a handheld or home console.

Favorite app?

Twitter. Its all spend my time looking at, alongside the Guardian news app.

Most useful app.

Probably Twitter again. Although TheTrainline app has been a lifesaver for working out
trains on nights out or booking tickets on the fly.

Moving away from Smartphone’s.

Being a writer, I presume you read. Who is your favorite author?

Chuck Palahniuk. I love all of his books, not one have I read and thought was pretty bad.
I loved Fight Club and Choke, they are all dark and deal with the ideas of taboo. However
my favorite book A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess, still stands tall above every
other novel written.

Would you like to be an author yourself, or do you think you will stick to

I have no aspirations to be an author. I used to write some short stories but that was
more to find out what style I best suited. If by some miracle people like my writing and
me as a person and I reach the hights of Charlie Brooker etc, then maybe I’d write a book
or two.

What advice would you give to somebody trying to get into the Journalism

Try hard. It’s a hard path and a hard slog but don’t be discouraged. You may not get that
opportunity you wanted or you may just get ignored; don’t take it personally its just how
the industry is. It’s an incredibly reserved industry so they don’t hire too often. Ultimately
don’t narrow yourself down too much into one category, obviously focus is a good thing
but don’t limit yourself. Just perceiver and continually keep improving upon any criticism
you get.

Tell us about your blog.

Well, it was going to be a big thing, however due to my Uni exams I had to stop running
it actively, but I’m going to get back to sorting it soon, and update it with work from all
the other websites I’m involved in as well as put things up there myself like I had before. I
now usually use Tumblr for a lot of the work I post, alongside the things I find interesting
and amusing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Well I’d like to be well on my way to my dream job. I don’t overly want to work in
London but I’ve had a dream to live around the Brighton area or back in Norwich where
I studied. Brighton is good because a lot of online press is situated around that area and
its easy to get to the Capital too.

In 10?

I hope I’m in my dream job, but it’s a longshot. It would be working for Edge Magazine in

Bath, however I’d love to work for an industry standard games magazine. I was thinking
of moving to America so that would be nice to go and work for GameInformer.

Now, I am not sure if you have heard of James Lipton and the tv
show “Inside the Actors Studio” but at the end of the show he asks these 10
questions to his guests. Here they are:

What is your favourite word?


What is your least favourite word?

I’m not sure, but I hate people needlessly abbreviating things, especially in formal
writing and situations, or if they are on a computer typing its not hard to type a full

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Heavy question there. I really like minimalism. So sharp lines, crisp colours and effective
use of space make me pay attention.

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Pretty much the opposite really. Busy things and loud images, shapes, spaces and

What sound or noise do you love?

Well, I listen to a lot of Lo-Fi music so I like the sound when something sounds rough, and
fuzzy. Sounds warmed and aged rather than a sharp clean cut modern sound.

What sound or noise do you hate?

I’m not sure if everybody will get this, but I hate the sound of that god damn Meerkat
for the Compare the Market adverts, and that stupid sound he makes at the end, which
everybody seems to be trying to emulate. BAH.

What is your favourite curse word?

Ha, something probably not fit for print. It’s a C word and generally deemed the most
offensive, only recently have they started using it on TV after 10 ha.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’d love to be a graphic designer. I cant get enough of that stuff, logos and graphic
adverts and posters. The stuff you seen on OBEY t-shirts and on higher end ads on billboards or in a creative space. Would be brilliant.

What profession would you not like to do?

Way too many, but my biggest gripe is the whole headhunting businessman type that
has sold their soul for £50k – 100k a year. I’d much rather have job satisfaction and a
sense of enriching people’s lives through my work than money.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at
the Pearly Gates?

“S**t man, wassup?”or something similarly amusing and conveying surprise.

Once again, I would like to thank Vaughn for doing the interview. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and make sure to check out his blog people!

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