Prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED in order to apply to bachelor's-level sports journalism programs. They should also be prepared to submit high school transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and a personal essay. Many programs prefer students who demonstrate non-academic qualities through their extracurricular activities, like teamwork, communication skills and interpersonal and technical aptitudes.
Schools with major sports venues - like those with Division I athletics - are commonly home to sports media programs, allowing students access to advanced journalism facilities and visiting sports journalism professionals. Students will be required to complete an internship to complete their degree.
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Bachelor's Degree in Sports Journalism
Most bachelor's degree programs in sports journalism combine didactic learning with hands-on learning. The hands-on component often comes by way of internships or work with in-house journalistic entities, like school newspapers or student-produced radio programs. Class topics that might appear in the curriculum are:
- Television journalism
- Radio journalism
- Mass communication
- Journalistic ethics
- Sports reporting
- Technical writing
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The employment rate for professional reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts is expected to decline by 9% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Many factors contribute to this decline, like industry consolidation, online conversion, and reduction in advertising revenue and competition from other media outlets.
The median salary of reporters and correspondents was $36,360 in May 2015, according to the BLS. The lowest-paid journalists made less than $21,390, while the highest-paid brought home more than $81,580.
Continuing Education Information
At the time of this writing, master's-level programs in sports journalism are rare; however, there is at least one Master of Arts in Sports Journalism in development at a university, and such programs may become more common in the future. Many universities do offer a general master's degree in journalism, with coursework aimed at improving students' writing, editing, critiquing, reporting and interviewing skills. Graduate programs also introduce advanced topics such as media criticism and mass media's influence on society.
Students interested in sports journalism will have hands-on experiences with school newspapers or school radio programs, as well as in class instruction in order to earn their bachelor's degree. Some classes students might see include television journalism, radio journalism, mass communication, sports reporting, and more.