Tips to Become a Sports Writer
Learn About the Sport
Since you are passionate about sports, this should be exciting for you. Learn everything about the sport, right from the rules to the history of the game and the major tournaments that are held. In addition, keep yourself informed about the trends in the sport and watch all levels of the sport. You should have knowledge about the players, their strengths and weaknesses. As an amateur writer, you will have to write objective articles, but once you become a columnist you will be paid to give your opinion. You can also suggest ways in which a player or a team can improve their performance. Therefore, it is essential that you have a thorough understanding of the sport to be able to write creatively and interestingly about it.
Read Articles Written by Good Sports Writers
Familiarize yourself with the style of sports writing. Analyze articles of good experienced writers and try to figure out why they are so famous. However, avoid copying anyone’s style, you will with time develop your own style of writing. Each sport has a distinct style of writing and presentation of scores, which you will need to learn. Reading articles will also give you an idea of what are the different sports articles that can be written. Read different types of sports articles in different newspapers and magazines.
Get a Degree
Firstly, you need to complete high school. While you’re in high school, take as many advanced English courses as you can. Get a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a majors in sports journalism. You will learn the basic techniques of writing and editing. In addition, you will also learn more about interviewing. Alternately, you can also do your bachelor’s in English with journalism as a subject. While you still have the time, learn other things that could add to your resume. Take courses to improve your writing skills, learn photography, you will definitely have better job opportunities as a sports writer cum photojournalist.
Get all the Experience that You Can
Employers prefer hiring someone with experience over a complete fresher. You can start with your college newspaper, write as much as you can, there’s no better place to experiment. Once you’re confident of your writing skills, apply to a local newspaper as an intern. You might not get paid, but you will get the real picture of how your life will be as a sports journalist. You may not be sent directly to cover a match, so be patient. You will have to start off by covering amateur sports. Create your own portfolio of your best articles, it will be very useful when applying for a job.
You can become a freelance sports writer, till you get a permanent job with a good media company. It will add to your experience and the best thing is that you can do it while you are still in college. Do not leave any opportunity that comes your way, no matter how small it may seem, to show what you’re capable of doing and getting into the field of sports writing. Send your resume to editors of different newspapers and magazines, they will hire you on a contract basis to write articles and may even hire you full time, if they like your work.
Start a Blog
Start a blog with the emphasis on sports, it’s free and the best way to show off your writing skills. You can do this while you’re still in high school and college. Attend college and community sports events and write articles on them. Try to find a different angle to a mundane story, that has been covered by all newspapers and post it on your blog. Write good human interest stories, about local players, it is widely read. This is perhaps the best way to make a name for yourself, you can also make money by placing advertisements on your blog, once it’s popular. It will be extremely helpful when you’re looking for a job.
Salary of a Sports Writer
Most sportswriters do not get paid a lot. However, they love what they do. The salary range is anywhere from $25,000 to $60,000, till they make a name for themselves. The salary varies depending on the location, company and experience. Larger newspapers and websites pay better, than their lesser known counterparts. On an average, sports journalists get paid around $40,000.
Sports writing can be a very exciting and enriching career, provided you’re getting into it for the right reasons. Many people want to enter the profession because they are either looking forward to meeting some personalities that they idolize or they are excited about the freebies. Many are under the impression that if they like watching the game, they will enjoy writing about it as well. Sadly, this is far from being true. Just like not everyone who enjoys reading can write, not every sports fan can become a sports writer. The only reasons you should be becoming a sports writer is if you are passionate about sports and love writing.