For any aspiring sports journalist, landing that first writing gig can seem daunting. The world of sports media is competitive, and breaking in requires persistence, a strong portfolio, and knowing where to look for openings.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the steps you need to take to apply for sports writing jobs, from building your portfolio to networking with the right people. So, whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to make a career switch, read on for all the tips you need to know
What is Sports Writing Jobs?
Sports writing jobs involve creating written content about sports and athletes for various publications like newspapers, magazines, and websites. These jobs require strong writing skills, sports knowledge, and the ability to cover games/events in person.
Here’s how you can approach applying for sports writing jobs:
Build your foundation:
- Sharpen your writing skills: This is your primary weapon. Take writing courses, join workshops, or simply write consistently on any topic to build your confidence and improve clarity, grammar, and storytelling.
- Become a sports fanatic: Immerse yourself in the sports you want to write about. Stay updated on news, stats, and storylines. Follow journalists and publications you admire to understand their style and approach.
- Gain relevant experience: Start small. Contribute to your college newspaper’s sports section, volunteer for local sports websites, or create your own sports blog. Build a portfolio showcasing your writing and knowledge.
Find your path:
- Freelance writing: Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Contently offer freelance sports writing gigs. Pitch story ideas to sports blogs, websites, and even smaller local publications. Start building your online presence and client base.
- Staff writer positions: Search job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, and MediaBistro for open sports writing roles at newspapers, magazines, websites, and sports networks. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each specific position, highlighting relevant experience and skills.
- Internships: Look for internship opportunities at sports media companies. This is a fantastic way to gain valuable experience, build connections, and potentially land a full-time position.
Craft your application materials:
- Resume: Keep it concise and relevant. Focus on sports writing experience, showcasing published work, awards, and volunteer work. Quantify your achievements whenever possible.
- Cover letter: Tailor your letter to each specific job, demonstrating your knowledge of the publication or company and their target audience. Express your passion for the sport and highlight why you’re a perfect fit.
- Writing samples: Choose your best pieces that showcase your writing style, voice, and knowledge of the sport. Ensure they’re error-free and formatted according to the publication’s guidelines.
Network and be proactive:
- Connect with sports journalists on social media: Engage with their work, ask questions, and participate in relevant conversations. Build relationships and showcase your expertise.
- Attend industry events and conferences: Network with editors, writers, and other professionals. This can lead to valuable connections and potential job opportunities.
- Cold pitch story ideas: Research editors and publications you’d love to write for. Craft well-researched, unique story ideas tailored to their audience and send them a professional pitch email.
Sports Writing Jobs Description
Sports writers produce content covering athletic events, teams, and athletes for media outlets like newspapers, magazines, websites, TV, and radio. Their work involves interviewing players and coaches, attending games and press conferences, analyzing statistics, and crafting engaging stories for sports fans.
Sports Writing Jobs Salary
Sports writers who cover professional or college level athletics for newspapers, magazines, websites, and other media outlets typically earn an annual salary between $40,000 and $60,000. However, salaries for sports writers can vary widely depending on factors like experience level, employer, and specific job responsibilities.
Here are some tips for becoming a sports writer:
- Get experience writing for your high school or college newspaper. Many sports writers start out covering local sports teams and events. This will help you build your skills and portfolio.
- Major in journalism or communications in college. Take classes in journalism, English, and writing to refine your writing abilities. Learn AP style and become comfortable interviewing people.
- Do internships at newspapers, magazines, or sports websites. This is invaluable for gaining experience writing articles, conducting interviews, and learning from veteran sports journalists.
- Build expertise and contacts in a particular sport. Follow teams closely, attend games, read sports blogs, listen to sports radio, and connect with coaches and players to become immersed in that sport.
- Start a sports blog. Write frequently about a sport you love to demonstrate your writing skills and passion. Use social media to draw readers.
- Learn to shoot photos and videos. In today’s digital media, being able to provide visual content is a major asset for sports journalists.
- Pitch story ideas relentlessly. Build relationships with editors at newspapers and websites. Send them story ideas on interesting teams, players or trends.
- Be willing to start small at a local paper or website. Work your way up to larger regional or national outlets. Paying your dues is key.
- Develop a unique voice and style. The best sports writers have a distinctive flair in their writing. Read great sports journalists to find inspiration but cultivate your own voice.
- Network constantly. Go to sports journalism conferences and events. Connect with writers on Twitter. Find mentors who can help guide your career. Relationships are invaluable.
What Does Sports Writing Demand?
Sports writing demands strong writing skills, deep sports knowledge, and the ability to craft compelling stories about athletes and teams in a concise and engaging style. Successful sports writers need dedication to follow sports closely and convey their expertise through vivid game reporting, insightful profiles, and sharp commentary.
Launching a career as a sports writer requires diligence and perseverance. But by relentlessly building your skills, curating an impressive portfolio, networking strategically, finding open roles, crafting standout applications, and nailing interviews, you can absolutely turn your sports passion into a dream job. Stay persistent and keep improving; before you know it, you’ll be right where you want to be.