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Sports Journalism

Hi, does anyone have any leads on how to become a sports journalist?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Teresa’s Answer

Newspaper jobs are rapidly disappearing. According to Pew Research: Newspaper newsroom employment fell 57% between 2008 and 2020, from roughly 71,000 jobs to about 31,000. At the same time, the number of digital-native newsroom employees rose 144%, from 7,400 workers in 2008 to about 18,000 in 2020.

So your future probably lies in digital.

To become a journalist, start with your school paper (probably online now) and cover as many games as you can. Take a class in journalism, even if you have to do it at a different institution or online or after school. Write, write, write. Learn how to meet or beat a deadline. Journalism is a skill as much as it is an art and the only way to get better is to practice. Regarding sports journalism, aim first for the sports you know best. If you understand tennis -- cover the tennis team.

Envelop yourself in all things journalistic. Read alot. I mean alot. Books, papers, magazines, online publications. In this way you will discover your style. Are you a better beat writer or long format producer (e.g. magazines -- over 5000 words). Books I'd recommend include: "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton; "Boys of Summer" by Roger Kahn; "Friday Night Lights", etc. etc. There's a whole list put out by SI: https://dpi.wi.gov/talkingbooks/services/reading-lists/sports

When I was working on the Daily Cal newspaper on the labor beat, I sat next to Mike Silver,https://www.nfl.com/author/michael-silver-0ap1000000232099 who was the Sports Editor. He was amazing. He covered everything. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Silver_(sportswriter)

Try to set up an informational interview with someone in the field -- take them to lunch since they are doing you a favor. Go to the interview as prepared as you would be for an investigative report. And learn how they made it and their suggestions for getting into the field.
Thank you comment icon I'd also recommend "The Best American Sports Writing" series which is a yearly roundup of the best essays written in sports journalism. As someone who isn't big into sports, I still felt connected to these essays and the topics they discussed like brain damage and the persistence of athletes. It's important to remember that you can be the reason that someone falls in love with sports + sports journalism Gurpreet Lally, Admin
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Brad’s Answer

Hi Yakov,

I think the sports journalism world is ever changing with new and non traditional opportunities becoming available.

Obviously if you want to be a journalist in the traditional sense you’ll want to refine your writing and question asking. Journalism courses and English or writing courses can help with that.

Platforms are changing now for journalists. Podcasts and social media are new ways journalists are reporting on sports. There are some sports media podcasts that might be worth listening to in order to better understand the landscape I.e. Jimmy Traina, Andrew Marchand, and John Ourand.

You can also start looking for opportunities to get a foot in the door. Maybe internships with a local news outlet.

Best of Luck!
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