The continuous development of the Internet has revolutionized media as we know it. What was once read locally is now publicized throughout the world because of the digital age that we live in. With this revolution comes great opportunity for novice and experienced writers and journalists to spread their messages.
Someone who previously would never have been published through traditional print media can now set up his/her own website or blog to start his/her writing career. Such an online outlet provides an excellent training ground for aspiring sports journalists trying to make a name for themselves and attract a following of readers. Furthermore, such writers have more expressive freedom since they are not under the scrutiny of editors and publishers who may or may not have separate agendas.
Unfortunately, such outlets will not always officially qualify the authors for press credentials at major sporting events. Nonetheless, they can still help these writers gain notoriety and build the necessary skills essential for success in the industry.
In terms of compensation, blogging doesn’t pay anything but it also doesn’t cost any money to set up a blog on one of many blogging communities such as blogger or xanga. Establishing a website, on the other hand, costs money to setup and maintain. These sites can eventually be profitable through online marketing and advertising opportunities if the site becomes popular enough to gain such notoriety.
Try looking for a sportswriting job with one of two large sports networks: Rivals.com and Scout.com. Each network is loaded with ‘team sites,’ each of which maintains a staff of volunteer or low paid writers.
Writing for newspapers and print magazines requires similar skills in terms of delivering a story and message to the reader. However, it is essential to know your role with the media outlet and the topics and subjects being covered. In this day and age of emerging technology, newspapers and magazines have evolved into global sources of information because of the Internet. Publications read online can help promote a journalists work around the world. However, to get to that point, it takes a lot of patience and hard work. The print media industry is not a place where you can start at the top. There are procedures to follow and a hierarchy to fall into.
First and foremost, the professionals in this segment of the media are journalists, whether covering sports, business, world news, etc. That means long lasting journalistic ethics and standards must be followed in order to gain the respect and legitimacy needed to succeed within the industry. These standards are taught in journalism classes and preached throughout the industry in order to preserve the sanctity of the profession.
An organizational hierarchy that defines the different roles also exists within print media. More often than not, journalists move up the hierarchy in order to gain experience and credibility within the industry.
As with other sports media jobs, college is a great place to begin your development. Taking journalism classes offers a way to develop the necessary writing skills and learn about the industry from academics and industry professionals. Writing for a college newspaper is another great way to gain practical experience because college newspapers operate in the same manner as a mainstream paper except on a smaller scale. They have columnists, editors, feature writers, beat writers, editorialists, and photographers, etc.
If college is not an option for you, start writing for a local newspaper. Many publications regularly seek writers to cover local high school and youth sporting events. This at least gives you some writing work and helps when it comes to networking. The most entry level position with a newspaper is as an intern. Interns primarily research stories and help with clerical work for the staff. However, it is also an opportunity to do a little writing and get your foot in the door. For your first ‘œreal’ newspaper or magazine job, you may have to join the staff of a small local newspaper to help build your resume. With a small paper also comes the opportunity to get involved in multiple facets of the newspaper operation from editing to photography. It’s a great way to gain the necessary experience to soon join a major publication.
How to Break In – Journalism classes, writing for local newspapers, interning with a newspaper
Recommended Skills – Unique style, creativity, knowledge of the game, command of the language, writing articulately, willing to work long hours.
Salary Range – $22,000 to $80,000+