Sports writing has always been a stressful career; now it is more difficult than ever. But it is also more exciting, with a future that is full of opportunities for those who can spot them.
Current and future sports journalists will need many skills in order to adapt, survive and even thrive in the new media world.
Securing your sports writing career
Newspapers, magazines, radio and television organizations are all cutting costs. Advertising revenues are down and in most cases sales are falling, so budgets are too.
Staff numbers are being squeezed. Only the best – those with the biggest skill-sets and the ‘can do’ attitudes – are likely to survive.
Securing a future in sports journalism isn’t easy, but it is possible.
Here are three simple steps to making sure you get and keep the job you always dreamed of.
Any sports writer of the future is going to need an instinctive knowledge of blogging: how to blog, when to blog, what to blog, and how to make great content that quickly spreads around the internet.
The internet will dominate the future of the media beyond all comprehension. Like it or not, you need to know about WordPress, image sizing, killer headlines and HTML tags. By developing an in-depth knowledge of this area, you’ll give yourself a major advantage when you’re competing for jobs against more ‘traditional’ journalists.
2. Video editing skills
Like any part of the written media, sports journalism will shift more and more emphasis on to online publishing over the next few years. Along with blogging, that means sports writers will also have to become adept at even more skills – including shooting, editing and producing video reports. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, then sports journalism – or any kind of journalism, for that matter – will probably not be for you.
But if you’re excited to learn new tricks, happy to push yourself and remain determined to hunt out the stories, then stick with it. It’s not the stories that are changing; it’s how they are told.
3. Social media
Times have changed. A couple of decades ago, stories broke when the newspaper landed on your doormat before breakfast. Now, they break every minute of every day.
And they spread like wildfire on social media platforms. As a journalist, social media isn’t scary – it’s breathtaking. Why wouldn’t you want to be there, seeing stories before anyone else, developing contacts and breaking your own tales?
The 21st century will present massive change for journalism and journalists. But the old skills of spotting a story and getting it out there will remain key.
Embrace the new.