Your future duties and sports journalist job description will depend on which type of media you’ll be working with, whether it is newspaper, magazine, TV, radio, or the growing realm of online media. You also may find yourself working as a media coordinator, announcer, or communications representative for an athletic association or sports team.
Types of Sports Journalists
Here are some examples of careers, each with their own sports journalist job description:
- Sports reporter/writer for print media (newspapers, magazines, etc.)
- Sports reporter/writer for online media (websites, blogs, e-magazines, e-newspapers, etc.)
- Editor of a sports publication (online or print)
- Sports broadcaster/host/announcer (TV or radio)
- Writer/reporter for sports broadcasts (TV or radio)
- Sports broadcast producer or director
- Sports information center specialist
- Media Representative for an amateur, university or professional sports team
- Communications Officer for a sports association
- Play-by-play announcer
General Duties of a Sports Journalist
While a Sports Journalist Job Description depends on your employer, specific positions and the type of media you are working in, there are some general duties typical of most sports journalism jobs.
- Editorial Meetings: Sports reporters/writers meet with their sports editor to discuss assignments, due dates and publishing schedules. Depending on how frequently the print or online publication is created, editorial meetings may take place daily, weekly or more or less frequently.
- Production: Sports journalists perform extensive research, conduct interviews and attend events they are covering, such as games, tournaments and press conferences.
- Prepare for Presentation: Sports writers/reporters write articles for publications or scripts for broadcasts. Editors or producers ensure all staff members are able to stick to deadline, answer questions and ensure all content is covered; they may also write articles and scripts themselves.
- Presentation/Publication: TV/Radio Broadcasters read prepared scripts or provide on the spot commentary, news or play-by-play, while directors ensure the broadcasts run seamlessly. Editors ensure the quality of all content and work with designers to present the material effectively in the final print or online publication.
Other important roles of a sports journalist include the ability to network with sports figures, athletes and other relevant stakeholders and to brainstorm creative ideas for future issues or presentations.
Note that sports journalists are often working on various assignments at the same time. This involves flexibility with one’s work schedule. For example, a sports journalist may have to interview an athlete or attend an event early in the morning or late at night.
In some cases, a sports journalist works independently. For example, someone solely responsible for the media representation of a sports team may need to set his/her own editorial line-up, duties and work schedule and come up with all of the content ideas on his/her own.
Sports Journalism Job Requirements
Before you can experience first hand how a sports journalism job description translates into the working world, you need to fulfill some educational and experiential requirements. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most sports journalism employers prefer staff to have a Bachelors degree. Some choose to declare a journalism major, then opt to minor or specialize in Sports Journalism, which most always includes at least one practical internship. Check out our journalism schools for online and campus programs that range from certificate to Masters levels.
In addition to the on-the-job training an internship provides, take it upon yourself to gain as much experience as you can. For example, start a sports blog, contact an established sports journalist and ask for advice or a job shadowing opportunity or write for your school newspaper’s sports section. Not only will you be a more sought after candidate for employment, you will also be more prepared to face the exciting challenges a sports journalism career will present.