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Is Sports Journalism the Right Career Option for You?

There is opportunity, money, and even fame in sports journalism, but is it the right career option for you? If you are considering it, then the chances of that being the case are certainly high, but certain realistic aspects of the career choice must also be considered before making the final decision. By the time you are done reading this, you will likely have a pretty good idea of what to expect and whether you are ready for the challenges.

How to Complete Your Qualifications for Joining Sports Journalism

To become a sports journalist, you will need a Master’s degree in Sports Journalism. It might not be the minimum requirement for applying, but without a graduation degree in sports journalism from an authentic and well recognized university, your resume would look weak. The competition is fierce in this field, so complete your M.A. in Sports Journalism from a reputable institution like SBU Online first. An advantage of joining the online course is that it will allow you to work as a part-time journalist and gather experience, while pursuing your master’s degree.

Understand that during the initial days, you may not get the opportunity to cover sporting events that you like. It takes time or a sports journalist to develop the reputation they need to get assigned to a particular type of sports, or the biggest events. Therefore, be ready to learn about all popular forms of sports which your newspaper/channel covers, or it might be difficult to survive as a sports journalist during the first few years.

Is It the Type of Journalism That Appeals to You the Most?

Liking sports is, of course, a necessary criterion for someone who will be spending their foreseeable professional life writing about sports, athletes, and everything else that’s associated with them. However, there are several different types of journalism careers available as well, and you really need to consider all your options first. Although not comprehensive by any means, the following should provide you with an idea of what other options you may have as a prospective journalist.

Investigative Journalism

Investigative reporters or journalists are quite similar to the police or private detectives, as they investigate people, organizations, governments, isolated/connected events, scandals, and other topics of journalistic interest. Ideally, investigative journalism is about uncovering the truth, reporting it, and letting the public know what’s really going on.

It’s a risky job with no promise of assured rewards. Also, there have been several scandals around popular investigative journalists, which has not boded well for the honest professionals in the field. Nevertheless, if chasing guilty organizations, politicians and high-profile criminals to bring them into public light and justice is something that you find more appealing, then investigative journalism is the better career option for you.

Broadcast Journalism

As a journalist, this is the closest you will get to celebrity status and if you are really good at it, you could potentially become a real-life celebrity later in your career. Now, broadcast journalism includes every journalist who goes live on TV on a regular basis. This includes everyone from the news anchor and the weatherman to late night talk show hosts such as Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno.

Financial/Trade Journalism

From making financial predictions regarding the economy on TV or the newspaper, to talking stocks on a dedicated trade channel, the opportunity for financial/trade journalists are there. However, you will need a thorough understanding of the stock market and advanced economics to be qualified for the role. Also, you will require supportive educational qualifications in economics, statistics or finance, in addition to your journalism degree and training. This is not a job for anyone who isn’t particularly good with numbers.

Entertainment/Page 3 Journalism

Similar to investigative journalists, you will be tasked with interviewing and finding information about celebrities and famous personalities across all spheres of life. However, the information must be entertaining and does not necessarily have to provide any real value outside of entertainment. It’s a glamorous job which may allow you to get close to celebs and there is little to no risk associated with the job.

The Importance of Sports and Sports Journalism

Sports journalism is considered by many to be entertainment journalism, but that’s not entirely right. It’s true that sport is supposed to provide us with entertainment, but there’s a lot more to it than just enjoyment. Sports is as much about keeping the human spirit of competitiveness alive, as it is about maintaining harmony between various antagonistic parties, by allowing them controlled but meaningful outlets for facing off. 

Boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts are among the only few remaining outlets for warriors and fighters to showcase their abilities and get rewarded for it in this modern world, while soccer has provided people with a very plausible distraction from violence and has even halted wars in the past. It is certainly the talent of athletes and the love of sports in people’s hearts that keep it alive, but without sports journalists, none of the two would have had a voice.

For example, the civil war in Nigeria, infamously known as The Biafran War, was halted temporarily in 1969, when Pele arrived to keep his promise and play for the Green Eagles even in the middle of an ongoing war. However, no one would have even known about the legend’s arrival and commitment, and the resulting ceasefire wouldn’t have happened, had it not been for the sports journalists who announced the event on several newspapers across the planet in the way that they did. Pele’s act of simply showing up speaks volumes about his courage, but the journalists who reported on everything before, during and after the match were instrumental in halting a war.

It’s an exciting and busy life that promises steady income and plenty of freelancing opportunities. In short, if you still think that you want to be a sports journalist, there is probably no reason for you to reconsider your options anymore.