How Do I Become a Sports Reporter? - Classes & Steps

What do you need to become a sports reporter? Let's look at the classes, steps, job description and salary to see if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Sports reporters report on sports events and personalities for the general public - as well as announce scores, doing in-depth analysis and sometimes making predictions. They may work for newspapers, magazines, online publications and television stations. Most need at least a bachelor's degree in journalism-related field to land a job in the field. Check out our chart for a brief overview of sports reporting.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Journalism, communications, sports broadcasting
Key Skills Persistence, interpersonal skills, analytical skills, writing
Job Growth (2016-2026) -10% (for all reporters and correspondents)*
Median Salary (2017) $39,370 per year (for all reporters and correspondents)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Sports Reporters Do?

Sports reporters tell the world (or at least their local area) what happened in a sports game. That typically includes the score of the game, relevant stats, key plays and, sometimes, a deeper analysis of why the team won or lost. Some sports journalists do their reports in written form on a blog or popular sports site, while others are on-air talent and give their rundown of the game over a television broadcast or radio airwaves.

A sports reporter can focus on one sport -- football or baseball, for instance -- or become a jack of all trades and offer analysis on a wide variety of sports. A reporter at an outlet like ESPN may be asked to understand (and speak eloquently about) aspects of all the major sports in the country.

What Does It Take to Become One?

To get an entry-level job in sports journalism, most aspiring writers and reporters will need a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications. This shows the employer that the applicant understands the basic tenets of journalism and has at least some ability to organize thoughts in a concise, coherent way.

However, while sports reporting is a competitive field, there are ways to break in without a degree. Starting a blog or personal website, taking low-paying or free gigs and finding someone reliable to edit your work are a few ways to get your foot in the door.

What Do You Make as a Sports Reporter?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual salary for reporters and correspondents of $39,370 in May 2017. Salaries in the sports reporting world can vary wildly, though. PayScale.com reports that some reporters make an average salary of around $25,000 a year, while some of the top names in the business, like Scott Van Pelt, reportedly earn upwards of $4 million every year.

What Skills Do You Need?

Sports journalism is about entertainment as much as it's about conveying information. Knowing how to tell a story is vital -- sports is full of drama and evolving storylines, so you'll need to be able to weave a captivating narrative. You'll also need writing skills; even people who want to be on-air talent will have to be able to write engaging copy, and sometimes they'll even be asked to ad-lib. Finally, a deep knowledge of the sport is a must. You'll need to know the names and histories of the players, and understand the strategic underpinnings of games to give thoughtful analysis.

Is Sports Reporting a Growing Industry?

Readership for newspapers and viewership for television news are down and it looks like they will continue to trend downward. With fewer people to consume the content, the demand for sports reporters is expected to go down as well. The BLS predicts a decline in employment of 10% for all reporters and correspondents between 2016 and 2026.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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