How to Become a Sports Journalist (Skills and Definition)

A sports journalist is a person who covers news, events, information, tips, strategies, and other data about sports and players. They can specialize in a particular area or a given sport, such as extreme sports, football, etc. To get into sports journalism one might have a journalism degree but some who enter the field come without specific sports journalism qualifications.

How to Land Sports Writer Jobs

Becoming sports reporters usually requires obtaining a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Then you might need to do some sort of internship or a specialized college course, covering sports journalism thematic.

But, if you have had some experience in writing, you can enter your sports writing career from virtually any writing or journalism work sphere. For instance, if you’ve been a copywriter, you can transfer into sports writing. To do so, you will certainly need to have a good (rather excellent) grasp of at least one sport, preferably more. You can find jobs online and apply with your portfolio and relevant experience.

Such as finding paper writers and discovering sports writers can be a task of utmost importance. After all, the quality of the written material determines whether it will be successful and accepted well within the public.

If you already have a sports-related portfolio, you’d find it much easier to get future projects in the field. For instance, to become a football journalist, you’d probably have to know a lot about football and then have at least some articles to show to prospective clients.

You can also check out the different specializations in the sphere of sports journalism not as pertain to sports but to areas of journalism, such as:

  • Sub-editing;
  • Photography;
  • Press office work;
  • Radio presenting;
  • Regional journalism;
  • Website editing.

What Skills Do You Need?

  1. Knowledge
  2. Experience
  3. Communication skills
  4. Writing skills
  5. Technical skills
  6. Relationship-building skills, etc.

But let’s see more.

If you browse essay writing website, you’ll see what skills writers need in general. But the field of sports writing is a bit. To start with, not only do you need to write well, but you’d also have to do so for sports. There is a huge difference between both. Prowly blog has put it quite simply, ‘The first step to becoming a successful sports reporter is to develop strong writing skills.’

Also, sports journalism requires you to be well-versed in the field of, well, sports. You’d usually specialize in one, two, or more sports. Not in all, though. Yet, when you are just starting in this career, you’d do best if you pick the sports that interest you the most and, therefore, you’d like to follow for most of your future career.

Being a sports player, yourself will be of huge benefit. After all, haven’t you noticed how many of the sports journalists themselves have or are still playing relevant to their writing sport? It helps, but, still, it’s not a must.

Still, what is a must is that you follow the sport that you wish to write in. You cannot be a sports journalist and not know who is top in their league in the country you reside. Of course, you don’t have to be knowledgeable of everything in any sport. Just the ones in your area of specialty.

Yet again, sports journalism requires a great grasp of writing itself. If you can write magnificent articles on lots of topics, you may do well in being a writer about sports. Sure, there are differences, and you might have to change your style a bit but it’s achievable.

Also, you’d need to know what interests the public. Each sport has its public and they have preferences. For instance, there is one sort of writing when covering a football game and a different one for a golf competition. Of course, you’d also need to know a lot about the given sport you’re covering. If you mix terms from, say, volleyball and basketball, you’d have some serious trouble ahead of you.

So, What Should You Do?

To begin with, pick the sport you wish to be a sports journalist for. Be it football, tennis, golf, Formula 1, or any other, for that matter. Then, study it in detail. Make sure you know the ins and outs of that sport. Ensure you are familiar with all the major players, leagues, competitions, rules, and specifics of that sport.

Then, gain some experience in writing. This might be via going through college or by becoming a freelance writer, etc. Whatever it is, you’d need to have been in this field to be able to write about sports professionally.

Now it’s time to gain some qualifications if you’re able. Once again, college is a good option but there are also internships and other such ways to gain experience and knowledge. Then build a portfolio. As per Indeed’s words‘A strong journalism portfolio is an excellent complement to a degree when applying for journalism roles.’

Finally, it’s time to set your feet on the field. You can try and do a test job for a sports magazine. Or you can send material as a freelancer to some football blog. Or cover an important tennis match and then reach out to a newspaper if they wish to publish it. Yet, the best way is to follow some of the main sports journals in the area you wish to write and make a note of whether and when they have openings.


Being a sports journalist is not an easy game but it’s a rewarding one. You can certainly make a great living doing the thing you enjoy the most, whilst even playing your favorite sport. So, you might be taking the right steps if you are trying to get your name out there in the industry and land yourself a great position.

Make sure you’ve understood well what it takes to become a sportswriter and then, try to gain some of the experience that will be needed. You might find it hard to land a job in the beginning, yet, with time and perseverance you’ll be able to make it. Of course, there are certain skills and knowledge that you need to possess if you want to make a name in the industry. We covered them briefly above and everyone can be investigated in more detail, should you be certain that you wish to proceed in this direction. But those skills can be learned and practiced, so even if you’re not there yet, this doesn’t mean you won’t be. Best of luck and do your best on your next game – be it real, or metaphorical.