How to Become a Sports Reporter: Step-by-Step Guide
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.
Career Requirements for Sports Reporters
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. Entry-level positions are generally available to individuals with bachelor's degrees in journalism, although employment in this career field is expected to decrease, partly as a result of the decline of newspaper readership. Advancement in sports reporting typically coincides with experience. The following table contains the main qualifications and requirements needed to become a sports reporter listed from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Journalism or a comparable discipline|
|Experience||Experience leads to advancement|
|Key Skills||Communication, writing, objectivity|
|Additional Requirements||Knowledge of the sport that is being reported|
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.
- 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. Some schools offer elective credit for the completion of an internship.
- Work 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 eight percent from 2010 through 2020. The best chances for new graduates to find work will be at smaller publications or 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 while in college.
- Consider a graduate degree. Some colleges and universities offer graduate programs in journalism. These programs generally train students with an undergraduate degree in a different major to become journalists. 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: Gain More Sports Reporting Experience
According to the BLS, employers report that experience is the most important part of a journalism education 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 BLS states that large publications typically require applicants to have several years of experience for new hires. 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.
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