The NCTJ accredits a number of specialist sport journalism courses. On these courses students sit NCTJ exams in news reporting, public affairs and media law, as much of sports reporting is about more than the action of what happens on the pitch. Sports journalists have to follow such issues as making sure a new ground will be ready for the start of the new season or whether a race track will be in a suitable financial position to host a Formula One Grand Prix. Stories such as this require an understanding of planning laws, media law and company structures and finances.
Students will also study shorthand, as sports journalism is an area of reporting where quotes must be reported quickly and accurately. Many sports reporters have to compile and file a report of the first half of a football match within the 15 minute span of half-time at a football match.
NCTJ-accredited courses are held at colleges, universities and independent course providers. Some of these courses are for graduates only; others require five GCSEs including English and two A-levels.