How to Pursue a Career in Sports Media - by Sarah DarenFrom the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
Sarah Daren is a featured writer on the Today Show website and has been a consultant for organizations across a number of industries including athletics, health and wellness, technology and education. When she's not caring for her children or watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.Every sports fan has dreamed of working in the profession in one capacity or another. Maybe you have imagined yourself as the quarterback on a team that is about to win the Super Bowl. Or maybe you're more interested in a career in the commentator's booth.
Careers in sports media may seem just as remote and unachievable as those in professional athletics. However, with the right strategy, it is possible. In this article, we look at the steps you can take to find an enjoyable, lucrative job in sports media.
Establish Your Credentials
We've all seen the retired athlete stuffed into a suit that comically contains their bulk, rehashing a play on Sport's Center. Unless you are scrolling through this article with a Super Bowl ring on your finger, this probably isn't the path you will be taking into sports media.
Most people get into sports media the old-fashioned way, with a degree in journalism. If you are at university consider majoring in journalism, and volunteering at the school newspaper. There, you can try to get on the sports beat, where you will both get experience covering athletics, and develop a portfolio that might make you more marketable for the specific niche you are trying to fill.
If you have already gotten a bachelor's degree, you can still advance your prospects by continuing your education. Pursuing a Master's in journalism, or even getting your MBA can be an excellent way to boost your marketability in the eyes of potential employers.
Create a Personal Brand
These days personal branding is vital for everyone. This is especially the case for jobs in which persona is part of the profession. When it comes to commentary personality matters. Journalists need to have a voice, so work on finding yours.
Naturally, much of the job will be filtered through the objective lens of journalism. However, opinion pieces and live commentary allow sports media personalities to market themselves as part of the package.
For media jobs, it is relatively easy to establish a brand. As a writer, you are regularly given the opportunity to hone your voice and establish a persona that can be marketed in a professional capacity. However, it's also important to keep that persona consistent, both in how you face the world in person and online. Maintain your brand on social media and other digital outlets. That's where potential employers will usually check to see that a new hire is a good fit.
Start at the Bottom
First stop Sports Center? No. Best case scenario, your first stop will probably be working at a local newspaper-if your community even has one. There you will cut your teeth covering high school football games just often as anything else.
If you are more interested in video or audio media, consider looking for intern positions at your local news or radio stations. While it may seem like a long road to the broadcast booth when you are making copies and getting coffee, it is a dependable way to get your foot in the door. Not only do you learn the trade in a hands-on way, but you also make valuable connections that can help you land a better job later on.
Just Start Doing it
Of course, we now live in an age where you don't necessarily have to wait for gatekeepers to give you their stamp of approval. The internet allows anyone who is ambitious enough to strike out on their own to carve a path for themselves in the world of media.
If you are interested in sports media, consider starting a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. This will help:
- Hone your skills
- Craft your personal brand
- Build an audience that you may eventually be able to leverage into a traditional job
We've all heard of internet personalities that make millions of dollars from their content. While this isn't the most likely outcome for any one individual's foray into online content creation, it remains true that the internet is a great place to establish yourself as a skilled writer or commentator.
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