How to Become a Sports Reporter: Step-by-Step Guide

Aug 16, 2018

Find out how to become a sports reporter. Research the education requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in sports reporting.

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  • 0:04 Should I Become a…
  • 0:23 Career Requirements
  • 0:59 Step 1: Earn a…
  • 2:21 Step 2: Find Work
  • 3:11 Step 3: Experience and…

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Should I Become a Sports Reporter?

Sports reporters cover sporting events and write features on athletes or teams for print and Internet-based publications. Job duties include research, interviewing, and fact-checking. Travel is often required, and constant deadlines may cause some stress for these professionals.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Journalism or a comparable discipline
Experience Experience leads to advancement
Key Skills Communication, writing, objectivity, knowledge of sports and the reporting material
Salary (2015) $36,360 (median salary for all reporters and correspondents)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Students interested in becoming sports reporters should consider earning bachelor's degrees in journalism or a related major. With the expansion of technology creating new forms of media, many programs offer majors for different journalistic mediums, such as broadcast or online journalism.

Many institutions offer students a concentration in sports journalism. Students in bachelor's degree programs learn basic journalistic skills, like reporting, editing, feature writing, and communication ethics. Students might take courses in English composition, communications, multimedia journalism, sports in society, and current issues in sports journalism.

As a student, it can be a good idea to complete an internship. Applicants can improve their chances of finding employment with internship experience prior to entering the job market. Journalism programs may require students to complete internships or cooperative education programs in order to graduate.

A college student may also want to gain confidence in his or her reporting by working on the school paper. Many schools have a campus newspaper and sports website that allow students to gain experience reporting and writing features on their school's team and other local stories. In addition to internships, employers look for students who have experience writing for a campus publication.

Step 2: Find Work

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for most entry-level jobs in sports reporting. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the employment for reporters and correspondents was expected to decrease 9% from 2014 through 2024. The best chances for new graduates to find work will be at smaller publications or with online media, as jobs with major newspapers and magazines will remain competitive. Students may also be able to find job opportunities within the companies they interned with while in college.

Those new to the field may also want to consider a graduate degree. Some colleges and universities offer graduate programs in journalism. These programs may allow students to focus on a topic of their choosing, such as sports journalism, and develop a thesis or capstone project around it.

Step 3: Experience and Advancement

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, experience is the most important part of a journalism career and can help lead to advancement. Sports reporters may advance to a larger newspaper or magazine after acquiring experience at a local or regional paper. The large publications typically require applicants to have several years of experience. As sports reporters work their way up, they may be given popular assignments or may be allowed to specialize in a specific sport. They may also move up to positions such as sports editors or directors of sports news.

A career as a sports reporter means earning a minimum of a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field and having the patience to gain several years of experience during and after college in smaller organizations in order to work one's way up to reporting, writing, reviewing, and researching sports stories for larger or multimedia news companies.

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