If you’re a fan of sports, you might be found glued to your television set every weekend, watching racecars turn left for three hours, or millionaires throwing, hitting or carrying some kind of ball around. While very few of us will end up as professional athletes, there are career opportunities for those who love sports, are excellent writers and communicators and, in some cases, have a great on-camera or behind the microphone presence.
Whether sitting behind a computer, standing on the field or talking in a broadcast booth, there are jobs in sports journalism. If you’re a fan of sports and want to get involved in the world without getting too dirty or too injured, sports journalism is the field for you!
The best things about being a sports journalist is meeting your athletic heroes and the opportunity to travel. There is also a good deal of flexibility in your schedule, however you will have to adhere to the professional sports schedule you are covering, which likely means some weekend work. The industry is also an easy one to explain to family that comes over for Thanksgiving, asking what you’re doing with that degree.
No matter where you live, there is likely a news organization nearby that covers sports. Here in Appleton, the Appleton Post Crescent newspaper and website devote a great deal of coverage to the Green Bay Packers, especially on Mondays. Local Appleton and Green Bay radio and TV stations also dedicate many resources to the coverage of local and statewide sports. Due to media consolidation, there are not as many listed job opportunities as there used to be. For example. Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the United States, owns and prints most of the local papers in this area including the aforementioned Post Crescent, the Green Bay Press Gazette, the Oshkosh Northwestern, and the Fond du Lac Reporter. So rather than applying at a single paper, you would instead apply with Gannett.
Sports journalists usually get their start right out of college as a general reporter, who covers more than just sports. With time and excellent job performance, journalists begin to specialist in certain areas, like sports. A bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism or English is often a requirement to get started. Experience, such as writing for The Lawrentian is also extremely helpful.
As is the case with several industries, the future of sports journalism involves analytics. As there is data collected about every instance in every sport, sports data analysis has increased. Sports publications are now hiring people with extensive background in statistics and mathematics to publish articles detailing this analysis. New metrics are used to compile rankings of players and teams. Blog sites like FiveThirtyEight and other full-time sport analytic sites take available data and construct analytic heavy articles about sports.
In terms of career stability, as long as there are sports, there will be sports journalists who love what they do! If you’d like to learn more, schedule a visit with the Career Center to discuss it further!
Spencer R. Brown is a sophomore experiencing their first year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as a media and marketing assistant in the Career Center, and curates articles for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities. A writer and animator by trade, Spencer is fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!