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Sports Reporter: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the skills needed by sports reporters and the educational options that can help you acquire those skills. Get information about the median salary for these reporters, as well as salary ranges by employer.

What Is a Sports Reporter?

Sports reporters specialize in informing the public about various sporting events and related news. They may report on events at the local, national or even global scales. Sports reporters can work for a variety of media outlets, including television, newspapers, radio and more. These professionals may attend sporting events and interview players, coaches or fans to report on a particular topic. They also develop relationships with various experts and contacts in the field. In today's world, many sports reporters utilize social media to cover events and engage with their audience.

What Education Do I Need to Be a Sports Reporter?

Numerous colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in journalism and communications, which can prepare you for a career as a sports reporter. Some programs feature concentrations or emphases in specifically sports journalism. Some schools may even offer online programs, allowing you to complete courses and earn your degree on your own schedule.

Within these bachelor's and master's degree programs, you'll perfect your reporting, writing and broadcasting skills. Certain institutions may allow you to tailor your studies to the journalistic medium you're interested in working in, such as broadcast versus print. Courses may cover media law and ethics, public affairs reporting, sports communication and sport psychology. You may also obtain hands-on training through journalism-based internships, which you can pursue during school and after graduation. Sometimes these internships can turn into entry-level job opportunities.

What Skills Do I Need?

To be an effective sports reporter, you must have strong general knowledge about every sport and be able to work under pressure to fulfill deadlines. Employers may ask you to generate your own stories, which may include arranging interviews, writing stories and editing videotape, the latter being the case if you're in broadcasting. You must have strong communication skills and be able to forge relationships with coaches and players. You may also be called upon to work late hours and have irregular schedules, since many sporting events take place in the evening.

What Salary Could I Earn?

Compensation for all news analysts, correspondents and reporters may vary across the country, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2018 that the median annual salary among all these individuals was $41,260 (www.bls.gov). Reporters and correspondents for newspapers earned an average salary of $46,550, while those who performed radio or television broadcasting earned $64,820.

Additionally, according to the online salary database PayScale.com, the middle 50% of sports reporters earned $25,000-$71,000 as of November 2019. However, according to the BLS, competition is projected to be fierce for available jobs, and it may be difficult to find work at a newspaper or broadcast station in a large metropolitan area. You may have better chances in smaller towns or with online publications.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A few alternative career options include editors, writers and authors and announcers. All of these positions typically require at least a bachelor's degree. Editors are the professionals who proofread, correct and approve a writer's written content before publication. They may edit books, magazines, newspapers and more. Writers and authors create the written content for things like books, blogs, songs, advertisements and more. Announcers may report on sporting events, but they also provide listeners with news, music, interviews and more.