It can be difficult to break straight in to sports journalism and many people originally start as news reporters. Specific degree and other sports training courses have been established, and some trainees manage to get taken on by broadcasters, specialist sports news agencies or sports websites, but it is generally considered that a basic grounding in news reporting is a valuable pre-requisite for an aspiring sports journalist.
As well as broadcasters and specialist sports news agencies taking on trainees, there are also opportunities with the regional and sometimes the national press. There are good opportunities for freelance sports match reporters to file to the major sports agencies, which supply a wide range of newspapers, websites and other outlets, but to win such work you will need to demonstrate a good track record of published work.
You’ll need all the attributes of a good news reporter, plus a passion for sport and an encyclopaedic knowledge of any particular sport you are to cover.
Depending on what medium you are in, as a trainee, you will learn to sum up the main moves in a game with brevity and precision, in either a voice or word report. Often newspaper and website reports are filed in sections during the match, often a couple of pars at the start, some more during the first half, at half time, during the second half and with the intro being tacked on the minute the game ends. For radio and TV, you may be given a minute or perhaps two to sum up a game.
If you are taken on by a large sports agency, you can expect – after proving yourself – to be part of the team attending major events such as the Olympics, tennis and football tournaments and so on. There will also be much routine match-reporting. Many games have to be covered, even if very few outlets will run much more than the result.
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