How Do I Become a Sports Writer?
Explore the career requirements for sports writers. Get the facts about education requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Is a Sports Writer?
Sports writers are professional writers who write about sporting events. They need to be skilled wordsmiths and capable of effectively conveying information through the written word. They also need extensive knowledge about sports, and they need to understand sports-related statistics and break that information down in a way that's understandable for their audience. This means that, in addition to understanding sports, they also need to understand the comprehension level and specific sports-related interests of their readers. They may work for newspapers or magazines, or write books related to sports. Sports writers face tough competition, as job growth for all writers and authors, including sports writers, is only expected to be 0% from 2018-2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Sports writers need a degree in English, journalism or communications; some schools also offer sports journalism programs or courses.
|Training Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Journalism, communications, English|
|Key Responsibilities||Research, write and report on a number of sports events to various news outlets; interview athletes; travel to games|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||0% growth (for writers and authors)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$62,170 (for writers and authors)*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Education Do I Need to Be a Sports Writer?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers prefer to hire sports writer applicants who have at least a bachelor's degree in communications, English or journalism (www.bls.gov). Numerous colleges and universities offer these bachelor's degree programs, some of which may have sports concentrations. Through these programs, you may also be able to get a sports writing internship, which can allow you to hone your writing skills and develop your resume.
What Skills Do I Need?
In addition to possessing at least a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field, you may need 1-2 years of professional experience covering a variety of sports, according to the job postings for sports writers at CareerBuilder.com in January 2011. Many employers also require candidates to have in-depth sports knowledge on specific teams or sports, as evidenced in the job postings published on Monster.com during that same time period.
As a sports writer, you will be expected to write from a spectator's standpoint. You may be called upon to dig deep and provide behind-the-scenes articles in addition to game details and player statistics. The articles you write must be produced in a timely fashion, sometimes during late hours. You must also possess strong writing and communication skills.
If you cover professional teams, you may need to adapt to life on the road. You may also need to know how to use specific page layout and photography software programs, as indicated by job postings for sports writers in January 2011 on Indeed.com and CareerBuilder.com.
What Salary Could I Expect?
You may be able to find full- or part-time employment as a sports writer with a newspaper, magazine or online media outlet. You may also decide to be a contract or freelance writer. Compensation may vary by location, size of the audience and your experience. If you're just starting out as a sports writer, you may find yourself working at a smaller media outlet, covering high school or minor-league teams. You may then be able to work your way up to larger markets. The BLS calculated the median wage for all writers as $62,170 in 2018, while PayScale.com gave the median wage for sports reporters as $37,034 as of November 2019.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
The work of feature writers, entertainment writers and reporters is similar to the work that sports writers do. Feature writers write feature articles, such as community member profiles or articles about community events. Entertainment writers cover entertainment events. They may write about theater productions, new movies, concerts, art shows or other entertainment-related topics. Reporters write about news stories that they research. Feature writers, entertainment writers and reporters all need a bachelor's degree, like sports writers. They all also need to be skilled writers who can effectively convey information to their readers through the written word. They may also work for newspapers, magazines or web publications.