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How to break out

I’m a college junior interested in sports journalism, how do I get my first opportunity to break out? #sports #journalism


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Megan’s Answer

Network! Ask these questions to experts in your field- the sports anchors at your local station, connections on LinkedIn, and professors. Pick their brains for what takes to make it in sports journalism today, since the industry is rapidly changing. At the very least, you could find a mentor or get some good advice. Send friendly messages with specific questions and see who answers back. Good luck!

Megan recommends the following next steps:

connect with anchors and reporters on LinkedIn
Message local sporta anchor for advice

Connecting to people who are already in the field is a great idea. Obviously it makes intuitive sense but I guess it’s hard to reach out and make that first contact. Thank you! Dylan C.

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Allison’s Answer

I think it's important to get as much exposure/experience as possible while you're still in school. That being said, I know at my university, we had the liberty to go out and find the stories we wanted to cover. Do you have any contacts in the athletic departments at your school? Maybe start small by interviewing an athlete and then, as you meet more people, work your way up to covering more. One of the most important skills I learned in school was to go get the story, so I encourage you to talk with your professor(s), other students to see what is lacking in the sport journalism world at your school and start there. The more experience and exposure you have going into a job interview - the better! Look for unique ways to set yourself apart. Hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

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Allison’s Answer

I think it's important to get as much exposure/experience as possible while you're still in school. That being said, I know at my university, we had the liberty to go out and find the stories we wanted to cover. Do you have any contacts in the athletic departments at your school? Maybe start small by interviewing an athlete and then, as you meet more people, work your way up to covering more. One of the most important skills I learned in school was to go get the story, so I encourage you to talk with your professor(s), other students to see what is lacking in the sport journalism world at your school and start there. The more experience and exposure you have going into a job interview - the better! Look for unique ways to set yourself apart. Hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

Thank you so much Allison, I know a few athletes so I think that is a good place to start Dylan C.

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Shea’s Answer

The biggest advice I can give for finding the opportunity to 'Break Out' is creating it yourself. Just like any athlete, your journalism skills will be molded by repetition, hard work and the willingness to show your passion. Throughout college, I made the effort to start a sports blog with a few of my friends, volunteered for my school paper and interviewed professors in my University's School of Journalism, all of which didn't go unnoticed when it came time to apply for jobs. Alongside that, many employers in the mass communications space will often times ask to see any past work. By showing that you're dedicated to developing your craft on top of your education, it will make you stand out much more in comparison to other candidates.

Another piece of advice that I want to leave you with is finding out which aspects of the Sports Industry your interests will apply to. I originally went to school for Broadcast, but upon developing my skill-set I now find myself in Corporate Partnerships. By doing some more investigating, you will find that your writing expertise and interpersonal skills are applicable to so much more than just a staff writer for a team. It would be advantageous for you to research how your journalism knowledge will translate to positions in Public Relations, Marketing, Community Relations, etc.

Best of luck, Dylan!

Shea recommends the following next steps:

Connect with Journalism Professionals on LinkedIn.
Look at job applications to see if your skill-set aligns with the job responsibilities.
Create your own opportunity. (eg. Start a Sports Blog, Work in your School's Journalism club, get a part-time role in a firm with hopes to grow into a full-time position)

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Dillon’s Answer

Hi, Dylan!

Great question. As a recent Marketing and Sports Management grad, it is important to find resources in the sports community and reach out to individuals on LinkedIn in careers you might be interested in. Experience is the greatest teacher, so be sure to reach out to teams or your athletic department to check-in on internship or shadowing opportunities.

In terms of resources, there is a sports journalism group that was started by a few students at Oregon called The Collaborative that can be found on Instagram at @xcollaborative_ and you can hop on calls with some of the leaders in the industry.

Best of luck!

Dillon recommends the following next steps:

Follow @xcollaborative_
Reach out to professionals on LinkedIn

Thanks Dillon (great name by the way) I’ve never heard of The Collaborative I’ll make sure to check that out! Thank you Dylan C.

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Anthony’s Answer

Hi Dylan. I am happy to help answer your question. My best piece of advice is to look for any opportunity to work on your writing skills. Whether it’s writing for a local high school and their athletic events, or writing about events at your college on your own and posting them on a personal blog, you need to gain experience. When you go to interview for opportunities, you can showcase some of these articles you have written and show them your passion and how you took the initiative to develop your skills.

I would also recommend jumping on LinkedIn if you haven’t already and building your network. Reach out to professionals currently in journalism and seek advice from them. See if you can’t send them some of your work for constructive criticism. Having professionals critique what you have done is a great way to grow and develop.

Lastly, I would recommend taking as many journalism courses as you can’t imagine sure you are already doing this, but these courses are a great way for you to learn the basics of journalism and to get practice.

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Tyler’s Answer

Hi Dylan,

As a graduate of sport management programs in both undergrad and grad school, I think the first step, as many mentioned already, is to build your network. As you'll soon realize, the sport industry is smaller and more tight-knit than you may believe, and it's all about who you know. I suggest reaching out to individuals who are in a position/role you would like to be in on LinkedIn. Always include a personal note and I guarantee people will be willing to help answer questions through the messenger, email, phone or video conference. Do these "informational interviews" regularly and stay in contact with these individuals.

The second step would be to continue to educate yourself. Read a lot of great sport publications to understand what the professionals do and what techniques they use. Maybe even find a few free or discounted online courses in sport/journalism as many schools, even Ivy League institutions, are now offering due to the current situation.

Lastly, while I'm not in the journalism side of the business, I think it is integral to have some sort of portfolio to share with any of the connections you make through LinkedIn or when reaching out to potential employers. Keep a running list of your best content pieces in an easy to share/comprehend format.

Best of luck!



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Kimberly’s Answer

Hi Dylan,

Great question! I would suggest doing what you can to volunteer in the field. You will be surprised as to how many people you can meet at a volunteer event, whether it is just a one day event or a weekly volunteer opportunity. Do not be afraid to network and make sure you go out of your comfort zone to do so - everyone knows someone. I would also suggest searching for job fairs in your area. These are usually field specific and plenty of people to meet. I would also suggest asking your classmates and teachers if they know of any opportunities for you to get started. The more you put yourself out there, the more options you will find.
Good luck!

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