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Sports Journalism – Have You Got What It Takes?
Interested in sports journalism? Other than a love of sport, you’ll need exceptional writing skills, an ability to create great stories, and most likely, a journalism degree.
What’s the Working Environment Like?
Newsrooms are mostly fast-paced and unpredictable environments, where each day is unique and exciting.
Working hours are irregular and long as a journalist, so expecting a 9 to 5 work structure won’t go down well here. Deadlines can also be tight and strict and may need to turn out pieces on a fast and frequent basis.
Plenty of travel is also an intrinsic part of being a sports journalist, and working outdoors in various kinds of weather conditions is often required.
What Types of Journalist Roles Are Out There?
Editors manage, formulate and collate stories across the board for a publication (or an area of a publication) and give assignments to writers; they will often have the final say on pieces before they go to print (or air).
Leader writers generally write editorials and can fill in for the editor or other senior writers when they are absent.
Feature writers create feature pieces, which will often hone in on key events or people; feature stories are often more detailed, creative and commentary-focused
Columnists write shorter but regular pieces for a publication, usually known as a ‘column.’ Columns will generally focus on one particular area (e.g. sports) and offer opinion and commentary.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Sports Journo?
- A passion or keen interest in all forms of sport and current sporting events
- An ability to ‘chase’ or hunt down stories and build networks that consistently lead to good stories
- Excellent creative writing and editing skills, with the capacity to find story angles, yet write objectively and without bias
- Great research, interviewing, and fact-checking skills
- Willingness to learn about all facets of journalism (not just sports reporting)
- Willingness to start “at the bottom” and even in another journalism area
- Willingness to travel to where the sport/news is happening
- A strong understanding of social media and online media
- An ability to work independently, without much supervision
Journalist Gender Share
Journalist Employment Share
Getting a Journalism Qualification
Sports journalism is an exciting and fast-paced journalistic world. At present, there are around 22,500 journalists employed in Australia.
Although it’s not strictly mandatory, a Bachelor’s degree can be beneficial if you want to become a journalist in any field.
However, that’s not to say that someone without this qualification cannot thrive in this industry. With experience gained through interning, along with exceptional written and verbal communication skills and of course a genuine passion for sports journalism, becoming a sports journalist without a Bachelor’s degree is definitely achievable.
If you’re tossing up whether (sports) journalism is right for you, you can start with a Certificate course and move on to a Bachelor’s qualification from there.
Journalists most often have qualifications in:
- Professional Writing
With a variety of courses in class, online and blended learning, there is an added flexibility when studying Journalism – this allows individuals to make their study experience their own with the choice to study their way.
Top 5 Skills For a Journalist
- Active Listening – 85% important
- Reading Comprehension – 85% important
- Writing – 82% important
- Speaking – 80% important
- Critical Thinking – 75% important
What Else Can You Do to Increase Your Chances of Journo Success?
- Write as much as you can! Become involved with your university paper or magazine, or contribute to community papers or publications in your local area.
- Stay abreast of what’s happening in the sporting world, for all sports – don’t bury your head in the sand!
- Volunteer or take on an internship that allows you to gain experience in a ‘real life’ newsroom.
- Practice taking impressive photos to accompany your articles, as you may be required to do this in conjunction with your reporting.
- Write or contribute to a blog that you can also use to showcase your journalism talents and build a portfolio.
If you love sport and think a career in sports journalism could be right for you, why not review our journalism courses? You’ll learn the basics of what it means to be a journalist and how to succeed in the sporting world. If sports is your thing but writing isn’t, explore a career in sports coaching instead.
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