Job title Sports journalist
Employer Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Premium Sport HD, InFront Sports
Sports journalism... where no day is the same
Fancy writing for a national magazine one day, a leading magazine title the next and then appearing on TV?
Freelance sports journalism could be for you, as Sports Journalist Sheridan Bird explains…
“I write mainly about football,” Sheridan explains. “Clients include Mirror Online, Champions Matchday, England and FA Cup Final programmes, the Blizzard and BT Sport.
“In a busy week I can supply a couple of mid-length (600/1000-word) articles for magazines, maybe a blog and sometimes a weekend appearance as a TV pundit for a European match.
“Interviewed footballers Fabio Cannavaro and Didier Drogba”
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
“I have been lucky – I have had an interview quoted in Gazzetta dello Sport website, written in England and FA Cup final matchday programmes, interviewed footballers Fabio Cannavaro and Didier Drogba and been on TV as a pundit for great games like Leverkusen v Bayern and Inter v Roma in October 2013. I also co-wrote a charity art book about typography in football, so it can be creative and (hopefully) other football fans enjoy my work.”
“You have to learn to work outside your comfort zone,”
What skills do you need to get into such a competitive field?
Wrote this a few years ago. What a player, what a goal, what an Inter kit…and what a pudding of a pitch https://t.co/dupZAiizBY
— Sheridan Bird (@SheridanBird) 14 April 2020
“Above the actual writing skills, which you can get from a book, course or website, you must be tenacious, thick-skinned and proactive,” explains Sheridan. “There is so much competition for these jobs, people won’t give you anything. In fact they’ll probably ignore you. So if you get a chance (by being ballsy or spotting a gap) you have to take it. You have to learn to work outside your comfort zone, whether that is working faster than you’d like, being more vocal/pushy or cut-throat.
“I did a degree in journalism in 2002-03 and studied Italian in Italy to help read calcio stories. I then started writing online (Football365.com) in the spring of 2003. Originally, I did this for free and in doing so I became F365’s weekly Italian correspondent, earning enough of a profile and creating a portfolio, which allowed me to apply for print media jobs. I moved to Champions magazine full-time in 2007 as staff writer and left in Spring 2011 to go freelance again. Writing weekly blogs from Italy for F365 between 2004 -2007 taught me to be concise, disciplined and how to pick the interesting story of the week.”
If you’re considering a degree then check out our article on how to choose the right University here.
“Identify the magazine/papers you want to write for.”
What would you tell young people looking to become a sports journalist?
“Unless you’re a freak, or a genius, you’ll probably get rejected or ignored for months, maybe years. But those who stick at it often make it.
“My tip? Identify the magazines/papers you want to write for. Then really study their style and content. Once you know what they usually publish, send ideas. If you just submit the same ideas to all the magazines/papers you probably won’t get a reply. You must show knowledge of each publication.
“Be prepared to work for very little money, even free, if you choose to write online. The internet is good for giving young people a first chance, but it pays very badly. No one goes into journalism to get rich unless they publish successful books or become a TV/radio ‘name’, but it’s rewarding in other ways.”
Sheridan has had some amazing experiences so far as a sports journalist, and working along some of the top names in football is a dream for many, if you’re looking to become a sports journalist click here, or if you want to hear from other professionals in the sports media industry then click here.