How Can I Become a Sports Journalist?

Research what it takes to become a sports journalist. Learn about the education requirements, job duties, average salary, and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Digital Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does A Sports Journalist Do?

A sports journalist reports on the latest news from the world of sports, either through writing or for broadcast media such as radio, television and online broadcasts. They are responsible for conducting interviews, researching their topic and analyzing sports-related news in order to inform and entertain their audience. Like many other journalists, sports journalists may work for a number of media outlets at once, or have regular positions as sports columnists or commentators. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Key Responsibilities Collect facts relevant to topic
Review materials to ensure accuracy
Expand audience's understanding and knowledge
Training Required Internship
Job Outlook (2014-2024) -8% (for all reporters and correspondents)*
Average Salary (2015) $36,360 (for all reporters and correspondents)*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Learn More about the Sports Journalism Industry

A good first step toward becoming a sports journalist is learning more about what your chosen career entails. Along with topics like business, fashion and weather, sports are considered a specialized area of news reporting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), journalists who wish to cover such areas should become well versed in them before entering the industry (www.bls.gov). For aspiring sports journalists, this may entail learning more both about specific sports themselves and the practice of covering them for newspapers, broadcasts or online publications. Creating sports-related blog posts may be an ideal way to get hands-on sports writing practice.

In addition to taking college sports journalism classes, you can conduct Internet research to find articles about sports journalism education. On the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) website, an article discusses common sports journalism tasks. These include keeping score at games, producing game recap articles under tight deadlines and writing compelling article lead-ins to keep readers interested (www.spj.org).

Earn a Journalism Degree

Bachelor's degrees are generally required for jobs in journalism. According to the BLS, most employers seek writers with degrees in journalism or communications (www.bls.gov). Many such programs offer minors or concentrations in sports journalism. In a bachelor's degree program, you'll learn the basic foundations of news-gathering, reporting, writing and editing for newspaper, broadcast and multimedia publications. You'll also study these concepts in specific relation to sports journalism, along with topics like sports in society, the business of sports, athletic culture, video editing and sports research.

Complete an Internship

The job market for journalists is often competitive, and sports journalism is no exception. Furthermore, the BLS reports that most positions in news writing and broadcasting require experience (www.bls.gov). Therefore, it may be wise to complete an internship at a sports-related newspaper, magazine, TV station, radio program or website, or in the sports department of a general publication. Internships are required for graduation from many bachelor's degree programs in communications or journalism. If your college doesn't require an internship, you can pursue opportunities through several relevant professional associations, including the Sports Journalism Institute (www.sportsjournalisminstitute.org) and the National Sports Journalism Center (www.sportsjournalism.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you have a degree in English or a similarly writing-focused major, you can work in many different areas of journalism and media outside of sports writing. You may choose to become a news reporter and produce articles on current events for print and broadcast media. Another option is to work as an editor and to curate journalistic content yourself, proofreading and correcting articles before publication. If you studied communications in school, you may also want to consider working in advertising or marketing. This will require you to write copy and come up with content in order to promote a service or product.

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