Online Sports Journalism Degree Program Overviews

Although a few online degree programs in journalism exist, the online curriculum rarely incorporates instruction in sports journalism. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels for standard journalism programs.

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Essential Information

There are no online programs specifically in sports journalism, but there are a few programs in journalism that are offered through distance learning. In bachelor's degree programs, students will study issues such as ethics, reporting and journalism law, and they may be able to take a few courses directly related to sports journalism.

An online master's degree program can sometimes be tailored to meet the needs of an aspiring sports journalist as well. While courses may be offered online, some programs may require on-campus attendance for periods of time, or require internships that involve working for a media outlet. Some master's programs may require up to three years of professional experience prior to entrance.

Sports journalism programs introduce students to all types of media, including web-based, broadcast and print. Students develop their reporting skills and become familiar with media law and ethics. The programs generally blend classroom lectures with skill-building assignments.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Journalism

An online Bachelor of Arts in Journalism helps students develop skills in research, writing, reporting and interviewing. Students also learn to write for and use electronic media, such as websites, blogs and online publications. The curriculum typically includes an introduction to journalism law, which covers the rights and responsibilities of fair and objective journalism in today's society. Graduates usually walk away from the program with a collection of their work that can be utilized as a professional portfolio to showcase their journalistic skills to potential employers. Depending on the program, individuals interested in sports journalism may be able to take 1-2 courses that emphasize the skills needed within that specialty.

Information and Requirements

Online bachelor's degree programs in journalism typically require four years to complete. Required credits comprise of general education coursework, major core requirements and electives, such as sports journalism courses, that allow students to customize their learning.

Some online journalism programs at this level are only offered on a degree-completion basis, which offer the upper-division coursework required to complete a bachelor's degree. This option applies to students who've already completed general education courses and other requirements prior to program acceptance.

List of Courses

Courses introduce students to the fundamentals of news reporting. They typically provide students with the opportunity to hone their skills in writing for print, electronic media, magazine features and broadcast productions.

Ethics in Journalism

Through examination of case studies and class discussion, this online course provides an overview of ethical standards within the communications and mass media industry. Course assignments ask students to evaluate and apply ethical standards to contemporary issues facing journalists.

News Writing and Reporting

Students learn to gather, evaluate and write news stories for electronic and print media. They focus on developing their writing skills while becoming familiar with current trends in the journalism industry, such as convergence, objectivity and fairness.

Sports Writing

This course provides instruction and practice in writing and reporting stories on a variety of sports topics. Themes covered include traditional play-by-play, locker room interviewing and non-traditional sports activities. Instructors typically expect students to attend sporting events and submit writing assignments based on them.

Online Master's Degree in Journalism

A master's program in journalism typically takes two years to complete. Experienced professionals teach courses, which provide students with opportunities to gain advanced hands-on experience in the field.

Information and Requirements

Composed of core requirements and electives, the curriculum allows students to focus their learning on specialty areas within the sports journalism field, such as feature writing or broadcast production. Applicants to this program may be required to have relevant work experience, and some on-campus work may also be required.

List of Courses

Topics in an online master's degree in journalism can include:

  • Media ethics
  • Communications law
  • Investigative reporting
  • Media business models

Career Information

Graduates of an online bachelor's degree program in journalism may pursue career opportunities as entry-level news analysts or reporters. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts were expected to decline nine percent during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS listed the annual median income for reporters, correspondents and news analysts as $37,720.

Gaining experience and building a professional portfolio benefits career advancement, although a master's degree, such as one in sports journalism, may help individuals land highly competitive positions as reporters, editors or anchors within the sports industry.

Master's degree-holders in sports journalism can combine their education and experience to gain employment as reporters or editors in a variety of media markets, including the more highly competitive ones in major metropolitan areas. They may become editors of newspaper sports sections or sports-themed books. The BLS projected job growth for editors to decline by five percent between 2014 and 2024. Editors made a median annual salary of $56,010 in May 2015.

Online bachelor's and master's degree programs in journalism may allow students to specialize and focus on sports journalism to prepare for careers as reporters, editors or analysts. Students will study topics like writing styles, media ethics and reporting techniques.

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