How to Become a Sports Journalist

What is more competitive than a Premier League match? The answer is covering the match. 

Sports Journalism is a career dedicated to evaluating others based on time or competition, and it is challenging to enter. The journey requires rigid training, commitment to an apprenticeship, unwavering perseverance, and focused dedication. And when the opportunity arises, grab it with both hands.

A touch of fortune is also beneficial, mirroring the experiences of those you aim to report on. Dreaming ambitiously and aiming for the stars is commendable if you’re willing to begin from humble beginnings and work your way up.

Journalism, especially Sports Journalism, remains a popular career choice in the UK. In this article, we will draw a line on how to get into this challenging yet rewarding career. So, let’s start the learning journey!

What is Sports Journalism?

Sports journalism is a dynamic and vital part of the media landscape, covering all aspects of sports and athletics. It’s a specialised field that combines the passion for sports with journalism skills to bring fans closer to the games, players, and cultures they love.



At its core, sports journalism involves reporting on and discussing sports events, teams, athletes, and the sports industry. This includes not only the coverage of games and events but also investigative pieces on sports management, profiles of athletes, and analyses of sports trends.


Various Forms of Sports Journalism:


  1. Print: The traditional form, found in newspapers and magazines, focusing on match reports, feature articles, and interviews. Print journalists often explore stories more thoroughly, providing context and detailed analysis. In Studyhub, we have a Newspaper Journalism course you may look at.

  2. Digital: This encompasses online articles, blogs, and multimedia content. Digital sports journalism is fast-paced, offering real-time updates, interactive content, and a broader reach through social media platforms. For aspiring journalists, we have a course on blogging.

  3. Broadcast: Includes radio and television journalism. Broadcast sports journalists often work as commentators, presenters, or reporters, bringing live updates, interviews, and post-game analyses. This format requires verbal communication skills, thinking quickly, and responding to live developments.


Key Roles and Responsibilities


  • Reporting and Writing: The primary responsibility is to report on sports events, which involves researching, attending events, interviewing athletes and coaches, and writing articles or scripts. Clarity, accuracy, and the ability to capture the excitement of the game are essential skills. If you wondering what is report writing or how to write a report. No worries at all. We have a course on Reporting Writing in Studyhub for your assistance.


  • Analysis and Commentary: Sports journalists often provide expert analysis and commentary, breaking down game strategies, player performances, and team dynamics. This requires a deep understanding of the sport and the ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible way.


  • Investigative Journalism: Some sports journalists specialise in investigative reporting, uncovering stories related to sports governance, ethical issues, doping, or financial aspects of sports organisations. This requires investigative skills, persistence, and often a network of contacts.


  • Multimedia Skills: In the digital age, proficiency in various multimedia tools, including video editing, podcasting, and social media management, is increasingly important. Journalists often need to create and manage content across different platforms.


  • Ethical and Legal Considerations: Sports journalists must adhere to ethical standards, ensuring fair, unbiased, and respectful coverage. They must also know legal considerations like libel, copyright laws, and media regulations.


In summary, sports journalism requires reporting skills, sports knowledge, ethical integrity, and adaptability to different media formats. Whether through the written word, digital content, or live broadcasting, sports journalists play a crucial role in shaping how we experience and understand the world of sports.

How to Become a Sports Journalist

Career Prospects as a Sports Journalist in the UK

The sports journalism industry in the UK is a vibrant and essential segment of the media landscape, characterised by a rich tradition and a dynamic present. It plays a significant role in shaping public opinion and fostering a deep connection between fans and the country’s vast array of sports played and followed.


According to Glassdoor, the average salary of sports journalists is £42,000 per year, which is among the highest paying jobs. Now, we’ll look into the career prospects of a professional as a Sports Journalist. 


  1. Diverse Opportunities: The UK is home to a rich sports culture, with football, cricket, rugby, tennis, and many other sports having a significant following. This diversity opens up various opportunities in different sports and media types, such as print, digital, broadcast, and radio.

  2. Roles and Specialisations: In sports journalism, you can work in various roles like reporter, editor, commentator, presenter, or producer. There’s also room for specialisation in a particular sport or areas like data analysis, investigative journalism, or multimedia journalism.

  3. Digital Media Expansion: The rise of digital media has created new opportunities. Sports journalists can now work for online sports news websites, sports blogs, social media platforms, and even for sports teams and organisations like BBC Sport and Sky Sports in their digital media departments.

  4. Freelance Work: Freelancing is a common pathway in sports journalism. Many journalists, like Fabrizio Romano and Rob Harris, start their careers as freelancers, contributing to various publications or websites, which can eventually lead to more stable positions.

  5. Broadcasting and Commentary: With the UK’s strong broadcasting industry, there are opportunities in radio and television for sports journalism, including live commentary and presenting and producing sports shows.

  6. International Opportunities: Knowledge of international sports and proficiency in multiple languages can open doors to international sports reporting, covering global events like the Olympics, World Cup, and international cricket tours.

  7. Evolving Skill Requirements: Sports journalists today need to be adept in writing and reporting and digital skills like social media management, video editing, and podcasting. The ability to adapt to new technologies and platforms is crucial.

  8. Job Security and Growth: While job security in journalism can vary, sports journalism tends to have more stability, especially for those established in the field. The growth prospects include moving into higher editorial roles, specialised reporting, or even transitioning into sports organisations’ public relations or media strategy.

  9. Networking and Reputation: Building a strong network and reputation is key in this industry. Being known for quality reporting, reliability, and unique insights can significantly enhance career prospects.

  10. Income Potential: While entry-level positions might start with modest pay, experienced sports journalists, especially those in senior roles or with specialised skills, can earn competitive salaries.


Overall, the UK’s career prospects in sports journalism are promising, but they require dedication, a passion for sports, continuous skill development, and a strong network. The field is competitive but rewarding for those committed and adaptable to the evolving media landscape.

How to Become a Sports Journalist

Pathway of a Sports Journalist in the UK

Becoming a sports journalist in the UK involves a combination of education, practical experience, and network building. Here’s a typical pathway:


Educational Foundation

  • Degree in Journalism or Sports Journalism: Many aspiring sports journalists begin with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, sports journalism, or a related field like communications or English. These programs provide foundational knowledge in journalism principles, ethics, and techniques.

  • Specialized Courses and Workshops: Additional courses or workshops specific to sports journalism can be beneficial. These may cover sports writing, broadcasting, media law, and digital journalism skills.


Gaining Practical Experience

  • Student Media: Engage with university or college media outlets, such as the student newspaper, radio station, or sports blog. This experience is crucial for building a portfolio of work.

  • Internships: Internships with sports media outlets, newspapers, TV stations, or online sports platforms provide hands-on experience and industry insights.


Developing a Niche and Skill Set

  • Specialize in a Sport or Style: While having a broad understanding is good, specializing in a particular sport or journalism style (like investigative, analytical, or commentary) can set you apart.

  • Multimedia Skills: Learn skills beyond writing, such as video editing, podcasting, and social media management, as modern sports journalism is highly digital.


Building a Portfolio

  • Showcase Your Work: Create a portfolio showcasing your best work. Include a variety of pieces – articles, videos, podcasts – to demonstrate versatility.

  • Online Presence: Maintain a professional online presence. Regularly update a blog, LinkedIn profile, and professional Twitter account.


Networking and Mentoring

  • Industry Networking: Attend sports journalism conferences, workshops, and events. Join organisations like the Sports Journalists’ Association in the UK.

  • Find a Mentor: Seek mentorship from experienced professionals in the field. They can provide guidance, feedback, and industry insights.


Entry-Level Positions

  • Start Small: Begin with local newspapers, radio stations, or online sports publications. Roles may include junior reporter, content assistant, or digital media coordinator.

  • Freelance Work: Consider freelance opportunities to build your reputation and broaden your network.


Continuous Learning and Adaptation

  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest trends in sports, media technology, and journalism practices.

  • Further Education: Consider postgraduate studies or specialised courses for advanced skills and knowledge.


Career Advancement

  • Build Reputation and Expertise: As you gain experience, focus on building your reputation as a reliable and insightful journalist.

  • Seek Higher Roles: Opportunities for advancement include roles like senior reporter, editor, or specialised sports analyst.


Remember, the journey to becoming a sports journalist can vary greatly. Some may enter the field through unconventional routes, like transitioning from a career in sports or leveraging a strong online following. Flexibility, persistence, and a passion for sports are key to success in this competitive field.

How to Become a Sports Journalist


In conclusion, becoming a sports journalist in the UK is as thrilling as a nail-biting Ashes cricket match, a high-stakes Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool Football Club or a Wimbledon Finale. It demands a profound understanding of sports like football, cricket, tennis, etc and a keen awareness of how media giants like BBC Sports and Sky Sports shape sports narratives. Your path might begin by covering local cricket matches, eventually leading to the electrifying arenas of Premier League football.


To succeed, stay deeply engaged with the sports world, keep a close eye on the coverage by BBC Sports, and analyse the insightful commentaries on Sky Sports. Remember, each article you write about a local cricket match or a national football championship is a step closer to your dream. Sports journalism in the UK is a field of dynamic storytelling and relentless passion, and you are on your way to becoming a part of this exciting world. Stay dedicated, keep learning, and let your passion for sports be your guiding star, be it the elegance of cricket or the enthusiasm of Premier League football.


To become a sports journalist in the UK, a degree in journalism, communications, or a related field is often beneficial. However, practical experience, such as writing for a school newspaper, blogging about sports, or interning at a media outlet, can be equally important. A deep understanding of sports, particularly popular UK sports like cricket and football, is also essential.

Specialising in a particular sport like cricket or football can be advantageous, as it allows you to develop in-depth knowledge and a unique perspective. It can lead to opportunities with media outlets focusing on these sports, such as those covering the Premier League. However, a broad understanding of various sports can also benefit a more diverse career in sports journalism.

Internships are crucial in sports journalism. They provide practical experience, help build a professional network, and often lead to job opportunities. Internships at sports media outlets like BBC Sports or Sky Sports can be particularly valuable, offering insight into the industry and the chance to work alongside experienced journalists.

Building a network can be done by attending sports events, joining journalism associations, participating in workshops and seminars, and connecting with professionals on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Engaging with sports journalists from major outlets like BBC Sports or Sky Sports through social media or industry events can also be beneficial.

A strong online presence is increasingly important in sports journalism. This includes having an active social media profile, a professional blog or website where you can showcase your work, and possibly a portfolio of multimedia content. An online presence not only showcases your skills but also helps build a personal brand and connect with audiences and industry professionals.


December 6, 2023

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