How to Become a Sports Journalist (From Zero to Stardom)

If you are a sports lover, you are most likely going to love a Career in Sports Journalism. However, it takes more than just having a passion for sports to become one. In addition to your passion, you need to have great writing skills and also, quality experience in Journalism. In this article, you will see how to become a Sports Journalist, moving from zero to stardom in the field, salaries and jobs.

How to Become a Sports Journalist

What Is Sports Journalism?

Sports Journalism is a competitive yet interesting field. According to Wikipedia, Sports journalism is a form of writing that reports on sporting topics and competitions.

Before now, Sport and entertainment journalism were being looked down on by other aspects of the field for not covering serious issues. However, the need for sports coverage has grown as the sporting world has grown in influence, power and wealth.

Most media houses have a sports journalism department. It is also an essential part of the media; print media, broadcast media and the internet. This is as a result of the love people have for various sporting activities.

The focus of sports journalism is to report both amateur and professional sporting events and news. In addition, it includes interviewing players and coaches, reporting game statistics, analysing and giving game commentary and a lot more.

Who Is A Sports Journalist

A Sports Journalist is one who provides information about sports events, teams, topics, competitions by writing and reporting on them for various media and news platforms. The media houses include newspapers, radio and TV shows, magazines, websites and a lot more.

Sports Journalists include but not limited but not limited to the following:

  • Sports writers/reporters for print media (including newspapers and magazines) and also, broadcasting media(television or radio stations)
  • Hosts of radio or television sports shows
  • Sports editors for print media
  • Sports announcers/commentators for radio or television
  • Producers or directors of television or radio sports shows
  • Media Representative for sports teams, associations or major venues
  • Online writers/reporters for sports websites, e-magazines or e-newspapers
  • In addition, online editors for sports websites, e-magazines or e-newspapers

What Are The Basic Skills Of A Sports Journalist?

To become a good Sports Journalist, you should at least have a good knowledge of and also possess the following skills of a Journalist:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Objectivity for reporting any news without prejudice.
  • Persistence for pursuing news.
  • Basic computer skills, including social media and databases
  • In addition, the ability to work long hours in a fast-paced environment

In addition to the skills above, you will also need the following skills to work in sports writing.

  • Broad understanding of sports business.
  • Basic journalism knowledge.
  • Research skills.
  • Creativity
  • Also, the ability to connect with sports fans

However, it is important to note that most times, the earnings potentials of a sports journalist, writer or reporters depend on the skills and experience he or she has.

How To Become A Sports Journalist; Education And Career?

Generally, to become a Sports Journalist, you need a degree in Journalism or any related field. In addition, having work experience in a similar field is always beneficial.

However, for clarity sake, follow the steps below if you want to get a sports journalism job:

#1 Earn A Degree

According to the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, employers generally prefer workers with a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications as well as an internship or work experience from a college radio or television station or a newspaper.

You might enrol in a bachelor’s degree program in journalism and choose a concentration in sports journalism or simply take courses in sports journalism.

Through bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, you can develop writing, interviewing and reporting skills in various media format. Also, you can actively participate in field internships (on-the-job training) to build professional contacts and also, understand the profession better.

Once you have completed the academic sports writing program, you could find work covering amateur or school sporting events for local news sources, work for national sports media publications or cover professional sporting events for sports broadcast networks. You may also report on various types of media.

#2 Develop a Portfolio and Gain Experience

As a Journalist or a soon to be one, your research and writing samples speak for your qualifications.  Your portfolio shows the finest examples of work in your chosen specialty; writing, photography, design, layout or multimedia; and areas of expertise.

Sports journalists should have a solid journalism portfolio; a collection of journalism samples that demonstrate skills and experience in journalism. As a graduate, your sports journalism portfolio of journalists may consist of works published in academic publications during internships.

Also, do not neglect the experience too as it helps develop your skills and adds to your portfolio as a Sports Journalist.

Sports journalists usually start at the entry-level by writing for small publications in small towns or cities. As they gain experience, develop reporting skills and make a name for themselves in the field, they can move to larger, better-known news outlets in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC in the US or London, Birmingham, Manchester in England.

As the Sports Journalist’s career progresses, his or her portfolio should also evolve.

#3 Think Of Continuing Education; Get A Graduate Degree

Although getting a bachelor’s degree is enough for a career in sports journalism, you can also take advantage of earning a graduate degree to stand out from other candidates and gain advanced reporting skills.

However, this can be particularly beneficial for sports journalists who have trouble starting their careers or for those with a bachelor’s degree in non-journalism.

A postgraduate degree in journalism usually teaches new digital technologies, multimedia journalism and specialized journalism, and generally requires the completion of a thesis or dissertation project.

Sports Journalism Career

There are several career options in Sports Journalism as seen above in ‘Who is a Sports Journalist’. You can report in any of the following media platforms:

Print and Internet

Sports journalists working in the print medium provide detailed previews of upcoming events and post-game analysis, in addition to extensive box scores, player statistics and team standings. Major national newspapers report local and national sports and provide Internet links to their content. Major sports networks, such as ESPN, maintain large, sophisticated online presences. As a sports writer or reporter, you could blog, write narrative sports features and write sports columns.


Broadcast sports journalists provide real-time reporting and commentary of a sporting event for television and radio broadcasts. Sideline reporters interview players before, during and after a game; production teams direct, edit and produce sports telecasts. Like its print counterpart, television has specialized sports networks, such as ESPN, that report sports events, news and entertainment programming.


Sports photojournalists take photographs of sporting events to capture the game experience in a single picture. Sports photojournalists work can be found in newspapers, television, the internet and in magazines, like Sports Illustrated.

Frequently Asked Questions; FAQs on Sports Journalism

Is sports journalism a good career?

Yes, Sports Journalism is a good career. As the fanbase and competition for professional athlete jobs increases, there will be a demand for coaches to train the upcoming athletes and also media houses will need reporters and writers who will keep sports lovers informed about happenings in their favourite sporting activities.

Future sports journalists may have to start out in low-income, entry-level positions in small markets before moving up the ladder. However, once they do, they can build a reputation and a long-standing career, go to various sporting events and even interview athletes.

Sport Journalism Salaries; how much does a Sports Journalist make?

According to Payscale, the average pay of a Sports Journalist is $41,698 per year. 

Also, from the last report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2018, the median annual wage of reporters, and correspondents is $41,260 while broadcast news analysts earn a median annual wage of $66,880.


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