10 opportunities available for sports journalism graduates

The sports industry is advancing rapidly, with great jobs and opportunities available across the board. As the industry grows, so does the demand for more media coverage. The digital revolution has drastically altered the media landscape in recent years, leading to a 24-hour rolling news cycle.

In recent times, sports journalism has experienced the most rapid growth of all areas within journalism. Traditional print and broadcast sports journalism must always be able to change to remain viable in the rapidly-evolving media landscape. Sports journalists must therefore possess various digital and social media skills to narrate stories through multiple outlets to reach a broader, often international, audience.

What is a sports journalist?

Sports journalists serve as specialized reporters covering sporting activities and other sports-related subjects. They possess skills similar to those of traditional journalists, and their roles include creating exciting narratives, editing for clarity, and verifying the accuracy and objectivity of material. Sports journalists are utilized by various sources, including newspapers, radio and television programs, magazines, and websites, to create content regarding sports competitions and teams.

For aspiring sports journalists, St. Bonaventure University has a sports journalism masters program that prepares students to be successful journalists in an ever-evolving media world. The digital journalism master’s degree provides more than the typical journalism skills of writing, reporting, and editing. It also allows you to reach audiences through various platforms, with skills in photography, video, design, and audio.

What does a sports journalist do?

A sports journalist produces articles and broadcasts about sports and sporting events, often through news stories and feature pieces. They might specialize in a specific sport, such as football or rugby, or work as a generalist who covers all sporting events. A sports journalist attends different sporting events to deliver on-site or taped reports. They generate content for various media outlets, such as print newspapers, radio stations, online magazines, and television programs.

Sports journalists collaborate with editors, photographers, videographers, and sub-editors to produce high-quality content for media outlets. They also present a range of perspectives on the event through diverse stories to create a comprehensive overview.

Essential skills needed to work in sports journalism

Broad understanding of sports business

Sports clubs and organizations are similar to any other commercial enterprise. To adequately perform their tasks, sports journalists must possess a basic knowledge of the commercial aspects of sports. In sports, there are a variety of departments, including marketing, finance, public relations, communications, sales, legal, and sponsorship.

A story on a league lockout may require a writer to know a variety of disciplines. For instance, the writer must understand the legal implications of a lockout, as well as the impact it has on sales, public relations, and other aspects of the league’s operations.

Industry knowledge

Before creating content related to a sport or a particular topic in sports, writers should possess comprehensive expertise on the matter. In other words, if a writer doesn’t understand a subject, neither will the reader. It is crucial for authors to not only be aware of background information but also to be familiar with the language and jargon associated with sports. To stay competitive, aspiring sports writers should remain current on the latest news and developments.

Research skills

Some may be enticed by the buzz and drama reported in sports media. Yet, a responsible author should be able to obtain all the truthful information that composes a specific sports narrative.

Before publication, writers should conduct thorough research on a topic rather than formulating conjectures or hypotheses. For example, a respectable journalist must research court documents related to the court case mentioned in the story to confirm the information presented in the article. To ensure the story is accurate, thoroughly research the relevant market data and double-check all facts.

Ability to connect with sports fans

When composing any writing, the author should be mindful of their intended audience, be it a broad group of sports enthusiasts, a specific demographic of fans, or professionals in the industry. A writer’s articles, columns, and blogs should be engaging enough to draw readers in and keep them returning for more. The content should pique readers’ interest and encourage them to keep reading. Many sports fans have their go-to bloggers, columnists, and broadcasters that they keep up with for their daily sports updates. Sports writers should aim to cultivate a dedicated group of readers.


If a topic piques a reader’s interest, they may explore different articles and pieces about it. Sportswriters aim to give readers multiple perspectives on the same topic, giving them various opinions.

Regardless of their stance on a particular issue, readers find the rivalry and discussion stimulated by sports enjoyable. When discussing a specific topic, a sportswriter should remain consistent in their position while also expressing the information imaginatively. Rather than simply accepting the views of other sports writers, be bold and come up with your unique perspectives.

Steps to becoming a sports reporter

Develop your writing skills

Good writing is essential to success as a sports reporter, just as it is for any other career in journalism. To become a respected sports journalist, it is necessary to start by improving your writing abilities. To do this, dedication and regular practice is necessary to progress your writing talents. Enhancing your writing proficiency, knowledge of grammar, syntax, and composition fundamentals is essential.

As a journalist, you must be able to express your ideas clearly and accurately. Becoming proficient at this requires one to be well-versed in the intricacies of language and composition. It is vital to write with accuracy and exactness.

Gain knowledge about sports

To be a successful sports reporter, one must have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the sport they report on. To be an expert in this area, it is necessary to go beyond having a superficial understanding of the regulations and history of the sport. An in-depth comprehension of the culture, the latest trends, and the people involved in the sport is essential. You should sharpen your sports analysis and commentary to stand out from other sports journalists.

It is important to be bold and give your opinion on contentious topics or make guesses about upcoming games or events. A unique voice and viewpoint will help you draw in readers and create a devoted fanbase.

Build your network

Going to sporting events isn’t just about watching the action on the field; it also presents an opportunity to network with others in the industry. Sports reporters should prioritize attending events and getting to know other reporters, editors, and producers. Establishing connections within the sports industry can open up new job prospects and freelance opportunities.

Participating in industry events and conferences is one of the most effective methods of enlarging your professional circle. These gatherings provide an excellent opportunity for sports journalists to connect, network, and get acquainted with the most up-to-date happenings in the field. You can also join sporting groups or associations to meet people with similar interests.

Gain experience

Getting involved in internships can be an excellent opportunity to get hands-on experience in the field. Seek out openings at sports networks, newspapers, and online outlets. Doing so will allow you to gain knowledge from experienced professionals and hone your skills. Pursuing and submitting applications for multiple positions is essential when looking for internships or entry-level jobs.

Despite having yet to gain prior experience, having a solid work ethic and enthusiasm for sports can help you to be a more employable candidate.

Polish your skills and build your portfolio

As a sports reporter, you must stay updated with the latest news and trends in the sports world to remain competitive. Staying abreast of the latest trends in the sports world is necessary to provide comprehensive and accurate reporting on competitions and matches. To remain informed, you must regularly read sports news and commentary. Keeping current on the newest developments, debates, and news can be done by tracking the social media accounts of sports organizations, associations, and journalists.

Insight from experienced professionals in sports reporting can be attained through attending conferences, workshops, and other related events.

What opportunities are available for sports journalism graduates?


As a sub-editor, you ensure that language is accurate and that articles are free of errors by checking grammar and ensuring that the content makes sense. The sub-editor will often need to communicate with the reporter to complete the story they are working on such as obtaining a missing quote or additional detail. Once they have this, they will carefully design the page – whether paper or digital – and put the words and images into place.

Many sub-editors are experienced journalists who have changed roles after significant time in the profession. Consequently, they can easily recognize a good story, so don’t take it personally if they ask you for more information on your piece.

PR Executive

A PR Executive’s responsibility is facilitating communication between organizations, such as businesses or clubs/governing bodies, and the media and the general public. A successful PR Executive will create favorable publicity for the company and distribute it through multiple mediums, such as print, digital, and broadcast. It is essential to monitor the daily news to observe any coverage of your organization.

As a PR, you must know how to present a negative story in a positive light. Some of the most renowned soccer teams in the world require the assistance of a massive number of PR professionals. They help to guarantee that they are always in the public eye, both on and off the field.

Club content producer

In the 21st century, sports clubs and organizations have used the internet to communicate directly with their fans. As a result, these organizations are increasingly relying on content creators. Content is constantly required for various purposes, such as webpages, match day programs, promotional material, video platforms, and beyond. The demand for creative and proficient writers to work on these channels continuously increases.

Content can include everything from interviews with players and news from the team, to articles and stories about the club’s history. An ever-increasing number of fans are now turning to the club for their information and entertainment, making this role an essential part of the sports media industry.

Social media executive

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become pervasive in today’s culture, with millions worldwide having accounts on these sites. It is also a resource that companies of all sizes can access anytime to promote their product and boost sales. Sports clubs and organizations have teams devoted to managing their online presence, interacting with fans and the public thousands of times daily. 

These platforms provide great reach for clubs to connect with their fans and discover what is effective for them as an organization. The social media executive will ask questions, comprehend social media sentiment, and identify what content viewers desire to consume.


Photographers capture the essence of history, their artwork providing a lasting impression that educates people for many years. Their images help to immortalize a moment and make it accessible to future generations. Professional sports photography is a specialized craft that requires an eye for detail and the ability to capture intense emotion. Becoming a successful practitioner of this art takes dedication and a lot of practice.

Photographers have the unique ability to show the world what others can’t, and they can quickly and easily capture, edit, upload, and publish images. They do this from some of the most popular sporting events in the world, allowing journalistic photography of sports, or headshots of players to reach across the globe. 

Press officer

A press officer serves as the ultimate protector of a brand and organization, preventing negative publicity and promoting positive information. They will guarantee the generation of favorable media coverage and determine the news agenda for their organization.

If a media outlet wishes to gain access to an athlete, they must contact the press officer. A successful press officer in the football and sports world must possess a deep knowledge of the sport, the individuals involved, and the ability to build compelling stories.

Radio host

Radio broadcasting is far from a dying art, as evidenced by the recent success of stations such as TalkSport. Radio journalism includes a broad scope of abilities, from match analysis to covering events, from reporting to interviews, and from comic fan calls to engaging discussion. A radio host must be able to craft stories, find relevant quotes, and ask engaging questions of guests that might be answered in real-time, just as a TV presenter would.

Regional newspaper reporter

Regional media outlets are currently facing challenges regarding their readership. Nevertheless, they are as active as ever. Regional reporters need to be knowledgeable about the various professional and amateur sports clubs in their area.

A typical day at the job includes writing match reports, live blogs, interviews, and posting on social media. For example, the sports reporters from the Los Angeles FC or Philadelphia Union must deeply understand their clubs, respectively. Regional reporters often have access to exclusive stories.

Chief sports reporter

The chief sports reporter will be instrumental in setting the news agenda across digital platforms, print media, and television. They spearhead the team and strive for success. As the go-to sports reporter for the organization, they are well-known and highly respected by those in all clubs and organizations in the local area. 

A sports reporter who has achieved success in their region may reach the national stage if they have the ambition and commitment to providing great sports coverage.

Website editor

The internet is the go-to source for up-to-date information and the most effective way for an organization to promote itself. A well-designed, user-friendly website with exciting content is vital for a sports club or organization to communicate its message effectively.

An editor for a website is aware of the kind of content that is suitable for their business. They use metrics such as engagement and page views to determine the most successful material and guarantee that the information is presented appropriately.

Final thoughts

Sports journalism graduates have a wealth of opportunities available to them. They can pursue roles in traditional print and broadcast media, as well as in digital journalism, social media, and content marketing. Modern journalists must utilize social media competently, as audiences are increasingly demanding instantaneous reporting of news.

Sports journalists can work for publications, websites, television and radio stations, and major sports organizations. They can also freelance, write books, and develop content for apps and websites. The possibilities are endless and exciting for sports journalism graduates.