How to be a Sports Journalist
Becoming successful in the sports business has got to be one of the more frustrating, strenuous and time consuming tasks in any market. Finding a way to weasel yourself to the forefront of the business is not just something that’s going to happen, unless you have some amazing connections of course.
When you go to college you think you’re going to get your journalism degree and then the doors will be open to immediate success. Not so fast my friend, as one famous broadcast journalist might say. The road to success only begins once you’ve been given that piece of paper that says you can write a story.
With the wide range of social media and blogging sites these days, almost anyone can become a writer. To put yourself ahead of the competition you have to find ways to make yourself more accessible to businesses and readers. Using such outlets as Facebook and Twitter are definitely ways to do so, and having a college degree will put you ahead of the pack. But there are still many factors that contribute to a bright future and the first one is knowing how to fail.
Become comfortable with failure
When I was searching for an internship in the media relations department I sent out emails to over 100 major and minor league baseball teams. Not to mention several teams in other sports, but baseball was my primary focus. I heard back from maybe 50 of them, interviewed with maybe 20 of them and got an offer from one of them.
Failure is part of the game when trying to break into the sports industry. But you can either learn to accept it and just let it motivate you to work harder, or quite frankly, just choose another career path.
When looking to find a job or internship in the sports business send out as many resumes, emails, letters, etc. as you can. The more irons you put in the fire the more likely that one of them will end up working out. Don’t be discouraged when someone doesn’t answer your email or hire you. Make a learning experience out of it and be ready for the next opportunity.
Experience is the biggest part of any successful worker. The more experience you have, the more prepared you will be for the job and the more enticing your resume will look to companies.
While in college take the time to work for as many publications as possible. Don’t just settle for the college newspaper because just about any writer off the street will have that on their resume. Look to find other publications in your school’s town and ask them if you can write for them.
Get used to doing a lot of work for free. Go to your school’s media relations department and see if you can come on as an intern. My advice would be to do an internship after your sophomore year in college and then try and do another before you graduate or right after.
I have friends that have completed three internships and they’re still looking to get a full time job in the business. The more experience you gain, the more prepared you’ll be and the better chance you’ll have at starting a career as soon as you graduate from college. Having these jobs will also help you develop contacts.
Having contacts is the key to success
I can’t portray to you enough how important it is to have friends in the business. It’s possible to get into the sports industry on your own, but it’s much easier if you know people in the business that can help you out.
The more people you meet the better chance you’ll have at a future job. Even if that person can’t help you get a job, they can become great referrals. Once you have contacts, make sure to stay in touch with them as often as possible. Never let them forget who you are and how great of a worker you were while with them.
These may sound cheesy and you may be one of those stubborn people who don’t want help, but trust me, it will be much easier if you build up a good circle of contacts to help get you started on your career path in sports.
There are many ways to get to the top in the sports business, but these easy and obvious steps will no doubt lead you in the right direction for a successful career in sports. I think almost everyone will agree that it’s not easy, but once you’ve broken into the business all that hard work will be well worth it.
* Want help meeting people in the sports industry? Gloves Off Sports has that covered! Email us about our nation wide Sports Networking Events. Meeting people, that’s how to be a sports journalist!
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