If you would like to specialize in sports journalism, we recommend to take the following course modules:
- JD140 Sports Journalism.
- JT010 Journalistic Investigation, JT020 Interviews, JT030 Journalistic Writing, and JT070 Sub-editing, if you have no prior experience in journalism.
- JT040 Writing for Radio, JT050 Writing for TV, and/or JT060 Writing for Online Media, if you would like to work not only for print media.
- Some JP modules, if you would like to work in public relations, too.
- Some practical workshops to hone your investigation, writing, and editing skills.
About Sports Journalism
One of the most widespread forms of writing is sports journalism. As the name implies, it deals with topics within the scope of sports. A journalist in this field may write about anything from PEDs to players like Aaron Rodgers in football or Lionel Messi in soccer. In fact, this type of journalism may offer the widest range of topics, as any writing pertaining to sports is considered sports journalism. It also offers a large platform for writers to report. Sports journalists may be found anywhere from TV to print to radio to social media. Prominent sports journalists include Rick Reilley, Bill Simmons, Zach Lowe, etc.
What does a sports journalist cover?
The topics a sports journalist may write about can be anything as long as it relates to sports. Some common topics include (but aren't limited to) players, money, the state of the sport, transfers, and controversies within the world of sports. Most sportswriters offer their views and opinions on events within the sport they are covering. While most journalists report on the professional level, there are plenty of writers that may focus on the amateur aspects of sports. Sports journalism isn't just limited to mainstream topics, however. You may find articles sprinkled here and there about swimming or darts. That's the beauty of this field; there is never a shortage of what write.
What is a sports journalist's audience like?
When writing articles, journalists across all industries are conscious about who they are writing for. In sports, that is no different. A basketball writer is aware that he/she is writing for basketball fans, therefore, he/she won't write topics that fall under soccer or baseball. While the norm in this field is that you stick to one sport and that sport only, it's not uncommon to see writers venture out and start writing about other subject matters in order to appeal to a broader audience. For instance, writers may write about the financial aspect of sports. Not only does it relate to sports fans, but it appeals to those interested in finance as well. For sportswriters, there is always going to be an audience. Their success is based upon how they draw their fans in, not who they know in the field. The audience is the very thing that could make or break a journalist's career, which is why writers make it a top priority to understand their market.
How relevant is sports journalism?
Sports journalism will stay as long as sports are around. People like to read the news about their favorite players and teams. It's actually one of the ways newcomers start to understand a sport. Writers in the sports field utilize one of the best mediums to get their ideas and articles across; social media. Millions upon millions of people have access to a social media site, making it inevitable to miss anything related to sports or other journalism fields. Sportswriters' articles and columns give readers an in-depth look into topics normal fans can't poke their nose into. Much like a reporter, they know what supporters don't know and it's up to them to tell the fans all about it. As long as the market is there, sports journalism can't ever stop growing. To top it off, in recent years this traditionally male field of work has seen an influx of female writers. As the industry continues to add more and more females to the journalism world, the market grows. Not only females are starting to become standard in sports journalism, however. Add former players and coaches to the growing equation. As sports journalism grows, more perspectives are introduced, in turn giving the audience more articles, columns, pieces, shows, etc. to chose from.
Where do sports journalists work?
There are a few platforms sportswriters showcase their talents, but the most popular ones are online and social media. As technology has evolved, so have those in journalism. They realized that since most people spend the day on their phones and online, it's the best way to inform people about a specific topic. Social media and websites aren't the only way writers get their ideas out, however. To this day, radio is still a prominent player in the world of journalism, as well as television, magazines, and newspapers. With freelance sportswriters, however, that's a completely different story. Freelance writers will mostly use newspapers and the internet to write articles since it's the easiest way to get into the business. It's very common for up and coming writers to have blogs not only to gain experience, but to establish a fanbase in order to move up the tiered industry of sportswriting. Case in point, there are plenty of ways for writers to become professional sportswriters without having to be a former coach or player.
Sports journalist techniques
Sports journalism isn't as complex as other genres of journalism, but it does share some similarities with them. For instance, research is just as important as in any other field of writing. Statistics is frequently the focus in topics that deal with finding the best player in a certain sport. It's important for writers to know about their topic and feel strong about it since a writer without confidence and knowledge may push out an inaccurate article, just like in other writing industries. Now despite the fact that sports journalists do use reputable sources, they won't normally go on-site and report, unless they are a TV anchor. Rather they will occasionally write recaps of games and publish mostly opinion pieces. Since opinion pieces are prevalent in sportswriting, it's important to know readers may not always agree with the article. It's important for journalists to take the criticism and stand behind their pieces. The tone of many sports journalists' articles are never serious, but rather they go for a tone that either informs the reader or invites debate. And of course, like all other forms of journalism, a reputation is priceless. Sports journalists know their boundaries and won't cross it. They have their silent rules just as any other field of work, so it's important for them to stay within their comfort zones.
Sports journalism may be hard to get into, but with hard work and determination are always the keys to success in this exciting industry.