The career of a professional athlete is fast paced, exciting and constantly evolving. Minus the chance of being sacked by a linebacker, a career in journalism is similar. Combining the two careers into one can be a dream job for anyone with a passion for sports as well as writing.
Sports writers must be creative, detail-oriented, objective and self-motivated. It is their job to report on various sports teams, provide updates on player injuries and uncover off-season stories. Those who take on the challenge can one day find themselves working for Major League Baseball or Sports Illustrated. However, before they enter the high-powered world of sports reporting, an education in writing and sports is a necessity.
While being a talented writer is the cornerstone to becoming a great journalist, those who want to step into the sports industry need to go the extra mile. A full and complete knowledge of the sports world is essential to becoming a sports journalist because without an extensive background in past and present information on a variety of sports, the road to becoming a sports journalist will be short-lived.
Students who want to pursue a career in sports journalism should work toward a bachelor’s degree in journalism at a four-year university. Many schools offer students the option of declaring a concentration in a certain subject, such as sports. The art of reporting and editing learned while attaining a journalism degree are important skills a journalist working in sports needs to know.
The world of sports journalism is a highly competitive one, so students are encouraged to find an internship while still in school. Sports reporters with little to no experience should look locally, namely to high schools. Local newspapers often look for people to stand on the sidelines and interview players after a Friday-night football game, which can be the perfect way for an aspiring writing to make their way into this sect of journalism.
Oftentimes, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for winning an entry-level reporting job in sports. According to recent postings on careerbuilder.com, job responsibilities include attending games and practices, interviewing athletes and coaches, writing and proofreading articles, conducting research and fact checking.
While many sports journalists choose not to attend graduate school, the industry’s fast pace and constant evolution calls for a way to learn while still working as a writer. Joining a journalist’s association that focuses on sports can be a valuable tool for learning new techniques and trends occuring the industry. Many organizations, such as Indiana University’s National Sports Journalism Center, offer continuing education in the form of conferences, workshops and lectures.
The prospects for a job in the current economy can be daunting, but those seeking a career in sports journalism won’t need to fret. Employment is expected to increase about 10 percent from 2006 to 2016. As long as there are sports, there will be sports writing, and even when most Americans are tightening their wallets, sports fanaticism never seems to fade.