Telum Talks To... Kurt Lozano, Content Producer, Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia

Telum Talks To... Kurt Lozano, Content Producer, Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia

By George Putong

Telum Media catches up with Kurt Lozano, a Content Producer at Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia who successfully connected two of his favourite things – journalism and gaming – into a vibrant career in esports journalism.

Tell us more about your role at Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia.
I mainly cover all esports news in Southeast Asia, though anything big happening in the rest of the esports world is also under my responsibility. With that said, we mainly focus our coverage on target markets in certain countries in the region as well as the most popular esports titles in the region, namely Dota 2, League of Legends, Valorant, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. I basically watch matches, get clips, write recaps and highlight pieces, and interview players (if given the chance), among others.

How did you get into the esports industry? Share your story.
As with most people in the esports industry, I started out as a player. I grew up playing video games and even tried my hand at being a pro. Of course, that didn't really work out, so I tried to remain in the scene in other roles by helping organise and host amateur tournaments in my area, and even tried to be a caster for a while. However, I ultimately settled with writing about esports since I have a knack for writing and studied journalism in college. In addition, there's an open niche for esports writers given the industry was still relatively young by the time I finished my studies.

What are your top tips for someone who just got assigned to cover esports? What or who should they look out for?
If you're someone unfamiliar with esports and have just been asked to cover it, then you have to give it its due respect. Unfortunately, I still see a lot of instances where an outlet or a writer writes about esports as if it's some new novelty when it's far from being that. Esports has been a billion-dollar industry for years now, it's no longer just video games. You won't go wrong with covering esports as you would cover sports like basketball or football.

But if you're someone familiar with esports and will be covering it, you have to strike a balance when it comes to your writing. While most of your readers are bound to be familiar with the scene to some extent, there will be some that won't have any idea about what's happening. So, you have to ensure that your writing can be appreciated by esports and gaming fans and still be understood by someone looking to dip their toes into the scene. 

Curious, since this is your beat, what games are you currently playing?
While the first esports titles that I really played were StarCraft and WarCraft III, my main game, so to speak, has always been Dota 2. It was Dota that really hooked me into the idea of competitive gaming and the game that I even tried and failed at being a pro at. Of course, I have played most of the other esports titles as well as other non-esport games. 
Where do you see esports in five years - regionally and in the Philippines?
The global esports industry is bound to continue growing, and places like Southeast Asia and the Philippines will be integral to pushing that growth. While some years ago you can say that Southeast Asia is well behind regions like Europe and China in terms of their standing in the esports world, I think that is no longer the case. 

Even now, Southeast Asia is the heartland of mobile esports, with the Philippines atop the scene following Bren Esports' win at the Mobile Legends M2 World Championship in January. International organisations are also looking to the region for talent, with Europe's Team Secret entering the League of Legends: Wild Rift scene with a Filipino team and North America's Evil Geniuses having a Filipino and Singaporean player in their roster, to name a few. 

I'm also willing to bet that a Southeast Asian Dota 2 team can win The International in the next five years. I think that would be something that really lifts the entire region.

Your job title is content producer, but it can also be called a modern-day digital journalist who writes and covers events that transpire online. What do you miss about in-person events?
A majority of esports tournaments and events are naturally held online, so the pandemic forcing everything online hasn't affected my job as much as most others would think. With that said, I do miss going to cover an esports tournament live. For one thing, esports players are more apt to give more in-depth answers to interviews when you're talking to them face-to-face instead of over a Zoom call. But really, I miss the crowds. Esports fans are very passionate, especially here in Southeast Asia, and hearing an entire arena of them cheering whenever a big play happens, or their team wins is just electric.  

What types of press materials or story pitches are you open to receiving? If given a chance, who would you like to interview?
I'm open to receiving releases from teams and organisations from the Philippines and Southeast Asia for things like announcements of new rosters, tournaments, and the like. I'd like to interview some of the players that I'm a big fan of, so hopefully I can talk to them once live tournaments can be safely held once again. Of course, I'm also open to talking to people with interesting stories in the industry that they want to share.

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Kurt Lozano

Senior Esports Producer

Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia

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