Job title Sports journalism
Employer The Telegraph
Tell us a little about your role in sports journalism
Working in sports journalism we work in the media industry (newspaper, magazines, radio, television, internet) and sources researches, writes and presents stories for publication in local, regional and national press.
The job of a sports journalist sounds incredibly varied...
Jobs as a sports journalist are varied and no day is ever the same being a sports journalist, you could be attending an England rugby press conference, reporting on a Champions League match or rustling up a hard-hitting news story in the office. What each day does have in common is a need to put in a lot of research and a satisfaction at the end of a job well done. On a normal day as a sports journalist within my office, I will spend an hour brainstorming potential ideas for news stories before holding an editorial conference to discuss these ideas further. From then on it is a case of working until those stories are written whether that means driving to interview someone at their home or staying up until 2am to speak to someone in Australia.
What do you love most about being a sports journalist?
A job as a sports journalist enables me to be paid to do a job you love, whether it is going to somewhere like Beijing or Rio for the Olympics, or interviewing one of your childhood heroes. It is also incredibly satisfying to see your name in print after a job well done. I continue to get a buzz from my job as a sports journalist every day of the week. Be warned though, it's long hours and can be poor pay to begin with...
Presumably you work a lot of unsociable hours, too?
Both during training as a sports journalist and once qualified as a sports journalist it is likely you will be required to work nearly every Saturday and some Sundays as well. While the idea of a career as a sports journalist sounds attractive on paper, often people find it much harder once they are on the coalface.
Training to be a sports journalist what qualifications do you have?
A National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) qualification is an essential stepping stone to a career into any field of journalism not just sport. Having graduated from Edinburgh University, I was desperate to get my first job as a sports journalist straight away but bitter experience showed that newspaper editors are unwilling to take on fresh-faced trainees who aren’t NCTJ qualified. The qualification teaches you news writing, public affairs – knowledge of national and local government, law – not getting your editor sued, and shorthand where you are trained to write at 100 words-per-minute. I took my course at News Associates where you are thrown headfirst into the world of sports journalism.
For those training to be a sports journalist what advice do you offer aspiring journalists?
Try and either get a job as a sports journalist with your local newspapers, to magazines and websites to try and gain a broad understanding of each different field of journalism. Make sure you are writing regularly, even if it is not published. Next time a football or rugby game is on TV try turning the commentary off and writing a 200-word match report within five minutes of the final whistle.