How to Kickstart a Career in Sports Media
Do you have a passion for sports; know every player, every athlete’s wins and losses, every trade and broken record? If so, you may be considering a career in sports media. Whether you want to be a sports journalist, announcer, radio personality, or producer, read on for tips on how to land a homerun career in the sports media industry.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Jumpstart your career path early by earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication studies, English, or marketing and public relations. Some accredited institutions may have electives specific to sports journalism, providing you with knowledge and practical skills as you enter the sports media workforce.
Explore Internships & Career Opportunities
Don’t wait until the day you graduate to start building a resume. While you’re still in school, write for the sports section of your university’s paper or digital magazine, participate in college or local sports as a team member or volunteer, write for a neighborhood paper or create an online blog, social media channel, or sports recap podcast to hone your skills and craft your personal brand. Get involved with your school’s television or radio station—either on camera or behind the scenes. During this stage, save any clips or projects you’ve worked on and create a portfolio to share with mentors and future hiring managers.
Just as importantly, find and complete internships in the industry—not only will the experience help you find a job out of college, but it may also help steer your career down a more specific path. Internships will give you a better understanding of daily responsibilities, and they can open your eyes to sports media roles you never even knew existed. Remember, it’s just as imperative to learn what you don’t love as it is to know what you do!
Set Up Informational Meetings & Network
Similar to the learnings you get from an internship, setting up informational interviews will allow you the opportunity to ask personalized questions about the sports media industry as it relates to each person’s role, perspective, and experience. Network through your school’s alum programs or reach out through a business community such as LinkedIn. Do your research, clearly outline the guidance you’re seeking, and schedule an initial conversation—be sure to respect the individual’s time and show up prepared.
Outside of coffee chats and lunches, study other broadcasters or sports media professionals and learn from them by watching their craft. What school or programs did they attend? What’s their interview style? What makes their commentary entertaining to sports fans? Following their career will help you continue setting professional goals while developing your working style.
Start Applying & Get Hired
Now you’re ready to jump into your sports career. From local stations to mega networks, start the application process and share your demo tape or portfolio of work with companies and your new network of industry professionals. While it may seem like a long road ahead, work hard and continue to prove you have the skills to become a sports media executive.