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    Coffee with a Journalist: Kate Irwin, Decrypt

    Kate Irwin is a gaming lead reporter for Decrypt where she writes about the latest news and features in technology and big tech, cryptocurrency news, entertainment, and culture. Kate also creates video content for the Decrypt website and social media pages.

    During the episode, Kate talks about Decrypt’s audience and how the team likes to break down stories, the story she looks for behind videogames and their makers, the reason why full transparency is important to her and her readers, and lots more.

     Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Click below to listen to the full conversation and read below for highlights from the interview:

    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    What Decrypt Covers

    [00:01:44] BB: Yes, yes. First off, Kate, for those maybe not as familiar, how would you describe Decrypt?

    [00:01:50] KI: Yes. So Decrypt is a small crypto news site that is growing. Yes, we cover all things crypto news, but we've recently branched out into video game coverage, looking into Web3 games, which basically means any video game that either has NFTs and some element of the game or maybe uses some kind of crypto token at some point in the game. 

    [00:02:15] BB: Oh, so how would you compare this to maybe the others in the landscape of crypto? Because there's quite a few number of sites out there. Is there more of a niche you specifically have for it? I'm talking Decrypt overall. I don't want to say any competitors. You know what I'm saying? I just want to paint the picture a little bit more for people. 

    [00:02:32] KI: Yes. So I think from what I understand, we are kind of a mix of I would call crypto natives, which means people that own crypto. They already know a lot of the technical stuff. They've been trading for a while. They are looking for a place to get dedicated crypto news from well-sourced reporters and journalists and that have been working in the space for a while. 

    But I think also some of our audience ends up sort of being a little bit coming in from the pop culture side when we cover different celebrities getting involved in crypto, and it pulls in a much broader audience. But I would say that, generally, our audience is mostly people that are at least a little bit crypto-curious, anywhere from like a little bit crypto-curious to a hardcore like crypto degen that is trading constantly. 


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    Story Building 101

    [00:04:15] BB: How would you ascertain appealing? What to you, you're like, “Yes, I want to play this.”?

    [00:05:57] KI: Yes. I think, I mean, everyone has different tastes, right? We want to cover a wide range of games. We want to cover and have covered everything from first-person shooters to mobile games to like indie RPGs. So I think there is room for any genre of game in that regard. I think like gambling stuff for me, personally, is a little tough to sort of shoehorn gambling stuff into gaming. For me, personally, I know it's a debated thing. But I personally don't really see gambling as video gaming. I do think that that dividing line is like very important and I think – so that's sort of like that line. 

    But in terms of games, like I'm looking for a little bit of lore. I want to know what's the core story here in a nutshell. I also want to know the team behind it and what games they've worked on in the past. I think that's so, so essential because we want to know like what you did before and what you're doing now and why you made the switch. A lot of it is developers switching from traditional video games to games that use crypto. So I'm always curious to see who is making that switch, where they came from, and why, and really exploring those conversations. 

    [00:07:18] BB: So, Kate, have you had any good pitches lately would you say?

    [00:07:22] KI: Yes. I think some of the good pitches. I mean, it might make sense, right? Some of the best pitches come from people that have already worked with me before, and they sort of know what I'm looking for. I think the good pitches are the ones that are very – if they need to be timely, they're timely, right? If your game is announcing something on this day, like tell me a couple days before. Request an embargo. Or tell me like right away first thing when it drops, and I will decide if it makes sense to cover. 

    Sometimes, what's harder for me is when PR folks try to sort of spin stuff when it's already like two days late. I pick up on that like right away.


    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences

    BB: Video or phone interview?

    • KI: Video.

    BB: Bullet points or paragraphs?

    • KI: Bullet points.

    BB: Short or long pitches?

    • KI: Short.

    BB:  Images attached or Dropbox zip file?

    • KI: Attached.

    BB: Pitches in the morning or at night?

    • KI: Morning.

    BB: Email or Twitter DM?

    • KI: I guess email because my Twitter DMS are closed. 

    BB: One follow-up or multiple?

    • KI: Only one, please.

    BB: Direct or creative subject lines?

    • KI: Direct. 

    BB: Press release or media kit?

    • KI: Both but I like a press release. 




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