For some, sports journalism is a dream career. You get to write about your favorite activities. There’s a chance you get to interview the greatest athletes in the world. Plus, you and everyone you know get to see your name on print and online newspapers, or even television. However, being passionate and knowledgeable about sports isn’t enough to be a great sportswriter. Here are essential skills you need to hit those headline home runs.
A Drive for Learning
Before creating an article, you should know the fundamentals of journalism and how it’s applied to sports writing. Take a physical or online course in your about news writing. If you’re still saving up for a course, there are a lot of free journalism resources available online like the Handbook of Independent Journalism or The Poynter Institute’s News University. There, you’ll learn all about how to capture a situation and write a cohesive and concise story about it.
Sure, there are broadcasters and writers that can cover more than one sport. But they’re seasoned journalists with years of experience covering each one. If you want to hone your skills properly, specialize in one sport. Learn every rule in the game. Get acquainted with the jargon. Know the different strategies and plays. Interview some of the hardcore fans to see how they talk about their favorite teams. The more you know about the sport, the more confident you are about writing about it.
Patience and Perseverance
It’s difficult to land a spot covering major league baseball or NBA as a rookie writer. It’s best to sharpen your writing skills by starting small. Cover the games of your local high school or college teams in New Rochelle. Submit them to the campus or community papers. If you don’t have any small-time outlets to send your stories to, start a blog.
These published stories stand as solid proof of your experience as a writer, especially if they get preserved in newspaper archives. Once you accumulate a large portfolio of work, work your way up by sending resumes to bigger news publishers and networks.
An Eye for Creative Stories
Apart from learning journalism fundamentals and the sport itself, you also need to study the best writers in the business. Think of the piece that inspired you to become a sports writer. Read other articles created by that author. Read great sports books like The Blind Side or documentaries like The Last Dance. See how they frame players and their legacies.
When you get more experience in the field, it’ll be easy to write rundowns or play-by-plays of different games. However, it’s often difficult to create intricate pieces like player profiles and biographies. As such, you should learn how the greats tackle different angles in a story to create one that’s unique and engaging.
Sports writing may look fun, but it’s no easy task. It requires a lot of research and writing skills in order to pull off correctly. Consider these suggestions to jumpstart your career. With enough time and effort, you’ll be able to earn a living writing all about the sports and teams you love.