Sports journalism is an exciting and fulfilling career for anyone with a strong passion for sports. While there’s no standard rule on the qualifications you need to become a sports journalist, most sports journalists study for journalism degrees. Others end up in the newsroom courtesy of their talent and interest in both sports and journalism.
How to Get Into Sports Journalism
The work of a sports journalist revolves around providing news content about sports, teams, and events. While the job is exhilarating, it is also a bit competitive and takes more than talent and passion for sports to become successful. For instance, you must have excellent journalism skills, good knowledge of sports, research skills, the ability to connect with your audience, and unmatched creativity. Here are the steps to becoming a sports journalist.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
A degree is the most common requirement for most journalism jobs. Therefore, having a degree in journalism, English, or communications will make you suitable for this job. In a journalism course, you learn interviewing, reporting, news-gathering, writing, video editing. Those are some of the skills you need to work for broadcast or multimedia publications as a sports journalist.
Since journalism is a competitive industry, you need to figure out how to stand out from the competition. Aspiring sports journalists have extensive portfolios and skills that demonstrate their experience in the industry. Keep in mind that getting a job as a fresh graduate is often not easy as you will have to compete against highly experienced fellows. How do you stand out?
Starting a blog where you can showcase your articles and videos is a great way to develop your portfolio. Since sports is your main interest, make sure to publish sports commentary, match highlights, and news from the events you attend. When you need a break, kill some time with the best solitaire card games on the internet.
Look for Jobs
Upon developing a portfolio and storytelling skills, the next step is to look for jobs. Internships are a great way to hone your skills as a sports journalist and become better prepared for more challenging roles.
All internship opportunities matter because they sharpen your journalism skills as you prepare to work as a professional journalist. While you are there, strive to learn new things and build networks with industry professionals. Even if your employer decides to let you go after the internship, you will proudly walk out with more knowledge and a strong network.
Choose a Niche
Finding a niche can be your saving grace in a competitive sports journalism industry. As you build your sports journalism experience, you will develop a liking for one or two sports. Additionally, focusing on one sport makes your job easier, so you deliver the best results. Following up on and reporting about your specific focus areas makes your sports news delivery more desirable. Some of the sports niches include soccer, volleyball, athletics, tennis, and hockey. You can also choose to focus on underreported sports such as fencing, bowling, or rugby.
Utilize You Networks Effectively
No matter how small an opportunity is, make sure to build and maintain relationships with your colleagues and supervisors. One of the top benefits of networking is that it can help you get jobs in the future. How do you build great relationships? Start by being proactive at work and ensure you deliver excellent results.
Work Your Way Up
To become successful as a sports journalist, you must get experience before thinking of advancing. Once you have built strong networks and acquired adequate knowledge in sports journalism, you may get job promotions to lucrative positions such as head of sports news or sports editor. Additionally, reputable media companies may approach you with hefty salaries.