The world of sports journalism has changed more over the last decade than it has ever done so before. There are new directions to go in within the industry, there is a lot more money involved and the fans of sport are craving more content, more depth and analysis on a level we have never seen before.
The growth of the sports industry has led to some publications being focused entirely on sports, rather than sports journalism being something at the back of a newspaper. The Athletic is beginning to take over the world in this regard, but many countries have their own sports media, either digitally, as a newspaper or broadcasting on the TV and radio.
Then we have the betting angle of sport, which has opened up a lot of jobs for people to take. Betting previews and predictions based on sporting events are becoming increasingly common, with writers offering advice on the best new betting sites for your bets as well as highlighting the odds on offer.
With such a change, working in the sports industry has also changed. If you are interested in sports journalism then the good news is that this change has opened more opportunities and given us new areas where you can try to find work.
What skills and experience are needed?
When it comes to the skills and experience needed by sports journalists, there is a small list you need to follow, many of which are basic requirements for any type of writing. These, alongside a willingness to be a success story and the right frame of mind will put you on track.
- Excellent knowledge of the sports business industry.
- Top research skills.
- Good communication skills, both verbal and writer.
- Creativity with your writing.
- A burning passion for sport.
- The ability to write what sports fans want to read.
- Degree in journalism – not always required.
Tips for breaking into sports journalism
Sports journalism is not easy to break into, but there are opportunities out there for those who are determined to make it. Here are some of the top tips for breaking into sports journalism.
- Seek work experience to get your name out there. This could be a placement with the local paper or radio station, look for anywhere local that you can apply to and work on sports content for them.
- Write your own pieces for fun to try and build up your own following on social media and get your name out there. You never know who is reading, this could be enough to strike lucky but even if it isn’t, it will give you valuable experience that you can use in the future.
- Have, and show, your passion for sport. This is what sets sport apart from other types of writing. Everyone in sport is passionate, from players to fans and pundits, you need to be the same and show you love the game in your writing.
- Interview local sports people to gain experience talking about sport and then turning it into a written piece. Don’t aim too high, look out for local non-league football players, or those who perform at a local level with other sports. Forget stars from the Premier League for now, but this is a great way of honing your interview skills.
- Talk to as many sports journalists as you can to build up your contact book and find out how they made it. There is every chance that you will pick something big up from these discussions that will put you on the right path for success.
Pros and cons of being a sports journalist
Just like any other job in the world, there are pros and cons to being a sports journalist, which you may know already but if you don’t, here they are for you to look over.
- Travel around the country and maybe even the world when you reach the top to watch some of the biggest sporting events take place and be at the heart of the action.
- Hang out with some of the biggest celebrity names out there, sports stars that you get the chance to watch and interview could be some of the biggest names on the planet.
- The hours of the job are not friendly at all. Remember, sporting events generally take place at a time when people are off work to watch them, but this is the time when you will be working yourself by covering them.
- Those following one sport or team will get a repetitive routine about their work, you have no change, just speaking to the same people and watching the same team day in day out.