Sports journalism - 2014 FIFA World Cup Final. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Careers Special: Sports journalism – Is it really all that?

A road far from smooth

Travelling to sports stadiums around the world, watching the very best do their thing and experiencing different cultures – the life of a sports journalist sounds pretty amazing. “I would love to do that” is a common utterance when discussing sports journalism and journalism in a wider context.

With such obvious benefits, it is

easy to think that this career path is simple and straightforward. But the passage to landing a job in this industry is far from smooth. Despite the perceived ease of the life of a sports journalist, their journey to the top is very underrated indeed. The path needs to be straightened before it deters too many people from their passion.

With so many careers out there, some form of work experience or internship exposure is vital to landing a job. Investment banks, for example, offer a wide number of internships to university students as they reach the penultimate year of their studies. Many students here at ‘corporate Warwick’ can vouch for that and are probably in the process of applying for those lucrative positions.

The media industry needs to encourage young people to pursue this field as a career.

Sports journalism could not provide a greater contrast. There’s no single system in place that offers a realistic chance of landing an opportunity. Too many opportunities come from chance emails, yet so many never receive responses. Surely journalism is missing a trick and falling into the trap of making the top better and the bottom worse.

All passion, no money

The lack of opportunities is one thing, but the non-existent pay compounds this issue. If we’re passionate about something, money will not have a huge impact on our happiness. But we deserve some recognition. The media industry needs to encurage young people to pursue this field as a career. Unfortunately we cannot survive without some financial support, which is vital once we move into the “real world”.

Furthermore, money can actually act as a motivation to produce better quality work. We need to find a way to reach the younger generation; otherwise we will lose many starving and beautifully creative writers.

Just to make things clear, this is not a rant against sports journalism as an industry. There are wonderful opportunities, but even if we can’t reach these, we are benefited by the fact that writing is free. Blogs and articles are easy to set up and one way to get noticed. Our passion to get to the top, to cover the biggest stories, will shine through.

But the industry must do some of the legwork, before it loses the many outstanding writers and thinkers in the world today.

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