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So, you want to be a sports writer?
In this course, I'll share with you my sports writing experiences that started while a just a junior in high school which later developed into a full-time writing jobs covering high school, college and professional sports.
In this lecture, you'll learn how you can take some basic writing skills (and your love for sports) and combine them into a new career. You can even pick up some extra money by being a freelance or part-time sports writer for a local newspaper, radio or television station. There are also other writing opportunities covering local tournaments; sports public relations or writing for a sports blog.
We'll also explore the pros and cons about being a sports writer; how to start gaining experience as a sports writer and how to get your sports writing articles published today.
This course includes 20 lectures and approximately two hours of sports writing instruction and ideas.
Students will also be able to ask questions through the course discussion area.
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|Section 1: So, You Want To Be A Sports Writer Do You?|
In this lecture, I'll share with you my sports writing experiences; how I started sports writing as a junior in high school which later developed into a full-time job. This lecture will preview the entire sports writing course, which will give you many ideas on how to become a better sports writer; how to cover sporting events; how to write on deadline, and how to advance your sports writing career.
Oh, the life of a sports writer! If you love sports - and you're not able to play a particular sports (or don't have the time) - then becoming a sports writer is probably the best way to get closer to sports. That's what I did!
People will envy you. Think about it: You're getting to go to sporting events; write and get paid! Seriously?
Becoming a sports writer is something you can do as a freelance writer (in your spare time) or you can start crafting your skill and getting more experience by working part-time - and eventually full-time - at a local newspaper.
Sports writing also gives you the opportunity to make connections with athletes; coaches; officials; athletic directors and others, who might prove valuable in helping you further your sports writing career.
In addition, you never know where your sports writing career will take you. Who knows? You might write for a magazine or online publication or work in a sports information department for a college or a professional team.
While the life of being a sports writer sounds like fun, there are some negatives reasons why you might not want to be a sports writer.
The biggest immediately letdown is learning that your chances of sitting in the press box writing about the New York Yankees is slim-to-none. It takes years of experience (plus you have to be a pretty darn good writer) in order to earn such a beat.
You might as well also know that sports writing, especially when you start, is going to pay you the big bucks. Since you are starting out and gaining more experience, you'll most likely be paid on a "per-story" basis, plus expenses.
Indoor sports keep you warm and toasty, but be prepared to face the elements when you are keeping stats and game notes when it's raining or snowing and cold. That's also a big negative for some people. Covering sporting events isn't as luxurious as sitting in your easy chair in the man cave and watching the big game on television. Instead, it can be walking the sideline while wearing layers of clothes while trying to figure out how to keep your notes dry during a downpour.
Deadlines can also be a hassle, especially if the game you are covering goes into overtime and the coach you need to interview after the game is having a long post-game chat with the team. Deadlines can be a little stressful, too and even weekly and monthly newspapers have deadlines.
Everyone usually needs some kind of experience when they start a part-time or full-time job. And, unfortunately, many people fall into the reality of hearing "they won't hire me because I don't have any experience, so how can I get experience when no one will hire me?"
That statement sets up a barrier to success.
However, with sports writing, experience is NOT required. Yes, it might be required when you apply for a job, but you don't need a job in order to get experience.
In this lecture, we'll talk about how to gain experience as a sports writer so you'll have experience and samples of your work when you apply for a part-time or full-time job.
I started my sports writing career writing for the school newspaper and, while a junior in high school, I earned a regular freelance sports writing gig with the local evening newspaper. Later, while a freshman in college, I applied for and was offered a full-time job with a local newspaper - none of which required me to have a degree before I started covering sports and writing articles.
There are steps you can take to build upon experience, even if you haven't earned a degree or you consider yourself to be beyond returning to school. Yes, you might need a degree if you have aspirations of writing for the New York Times, but a degree isn't required when you are starting out and want to gain experience.
|Section 2: Getting Started And Gaining Experience As A Sports Writer|
This lecture sets the groundwork for how to get started in your sports writing career, whether you are interested in freelance, part-time or full-time employment.
Here, we'll discuss the best ways to begin and what are some of the biggest hurdles you might face (and overcome) as you start your journey to becoming a sports writer.
The best way to get experience and to become a better sports writer is to think "local" when it comes to sports writing. For now, let's forget about professional and college sports. Instead, there are plenty of local sporting events; athletes and coaches you should focus on in earning more experience and writing as often as you can about sports.
Sports Writing samples? Check.
It looks like you're ready to apply for a freelance, part-time or full-time sports writing gig. Here are the steps you should take in researching potential sports writing employment opportunities.
Bad news: no one hired you for a sports writing job. Don't quit. Don't give up. Never give up!
Either the media outlet didn't have any openings at this time or you need more experience.
Keep going. Work on areas that you feel need improvement. If you were interviewed and you didn't get the job, it's OK to reach out and ask why and how could you make yourself a better candidate in the future.
Also, you might want to consider asking someone to critique your work. A friend or a spouse might be too "nice" and say your article looks fine. After all, they don't want to hurt your feelings. Consider asking an English major or teach for a "red line" mark-up of your work. It will definitely help you write better.
The No. 1 way to get experience is to write an article and get it published. It's a great thing to see your work in print (or online). It's like a stamp of approval and it let's you shout from the rooftop "I'm a sports writer!"
In this lecture, we'll explore how you can create, publish and write your own local sports blog.
Lots of handy blog tips here, too!
Don't lean too heavy on covering one particular sport. Yes, you might be an experience in all things football, but you'll "drown" when you have to cover a local swimming tournament and you have no clue what a "medley relay" event means.
While working to gain sports writing experience, it is important to remember that you cover and write about all sports, especially the ones where you lack knowledge.
Volleyball was one of my initial failures. However, a local high school coach reached out and taught me everything about the sports, including the type of hits (dink, bump, spike, etc.); scoring; strategy, etc. I even attended some of the team's practices, so I could learn more about the sport. My volleyball writing become stronger and I could educate the reader about the sport while writing about it.
Pick your weak sports knowledge and learn more about it.
|Section 3: Taking Your Sports Writing To The Next Level|
It's time to take your sports writing to the next level and write other types of sports stories and articles rather than just the game results story.
Here, we'll discuss writing the sports profile piece.
In a profile article, you'll be focusing, interviewing and writing about one individual. This can be an athlete; coach; sports administrator; athletic director; official or a sports celebrity.
This is a fun sports article to write and it gives your readers a different inside look at an individual rather than a team.
While a sports profile article is about an individual, writing the sports feature gives you many more opportunities to expand your sports writing career and gain more experience.
With the sports feature, you will typically write about a team or a group of individuals.
Some examples can include:
The sports feature takes a little more time to write as you will need to interview several individuals for the article, let alone trying to get them all together for a photo!
Writing about the upcoming game or tournament is known as a "sports game preview" or "preview." Here, you will help set the stage for next game between two teams.
In this piece, you'll write about team records; common opponents; winning and losing streaks and what fans can expect out of both teams heading into the game or tourney.
The sports game preview is rather easy to write and you can interview coaches via a quick telephone call and get some good quotes for your article.
Listen to this lecture for more tips on writing the sports game preview article.
Ah, the big game! One of my favorite things to do as a sports writer happened every week when I went to a game; kept stats; interviewed coaches and players afterwards and wrote a story on deadline.
By now, you're getting a good balance of articles in your sports blog and sports writing portfolio.
Remember, to mix things up a bit to show you can write about different sports topics and write different types of sports articles.
Game coverage stories are easy, but they do require some time investment - usually 2-3 hours or so per event, plus time required to compile stats and write the article!
If you're working on a sports blog - and still trying to land a freelance, part-time or full-time job - you might want to limit yourself to covering one sporting event per week. That way, your blog won't be full of game coverage pieces and will instead show what other types of articles you can write.
|Section 4: Advancing And Continuing Your Sports Writing Career|
While there is always plenty to write about on the local sports scene, you may eventually want to move up to writing about college sports.
The college sports scene is a bigger jump from covering high school sports. However, you can easily tie the two together.
Check out this lecture for more information on how to advance your sports writing career by covering college sports.
It's the cream of the crop when you get the opportunity to cover professional sports, but the reality is you'll need more experience and top-notch writing in order to cover the New York Yankees on a full-time basis.
Along the way in my sports writing career, I would be able to cover some pro sports, but usually only when it had a local angle. For example, a local golfer was playing in a Professional Golfers Association (PGA) qualifying tournament in a nearby town, or a race horse breeder had a farm in the area.
Try to keep local in mind when covering professional sports. Find the local connection with your blog and you'll be able to get your foot in the door and expand your sports writing experience.
If you find yourself still looking for a freelance or part-time sports writing job - and not having any luck - chance are there are some other local opportunities that might earn you a little bit of money and / or some additional experience.
Other local sporting events are being help almost monthly and, from time-to-time, these events might need a public relations person to get the word out about a tournament; write press releases; take pictures and do post-event articles.
Listen to this lecture to find out more about this hidden sports writing opportunity.
Make sure you keep everything you publish - even on your blog - in both digital and hard copy format. After all, you've put a lot of sweat (and maybe some tears) into your hard work.
If you're able to get some pieces published in the local paper, consider purchasing a large portfolio binder (similar to a photo album but much larger) to file and display your articles and photographs. This will come in handy when you are interviewing face-to-face and want to show writing and published samples.
If your work is online, save a hard copy to your computer's hard drive and print out a copy as well. Depending on the publication, online stories might have a shelf-life and the link to your story might go away after a period of time.
Remember, everything you scan and save to your computer should also be backed up to an off-site location or in the cloud.
As you continue in your sports writing career, whether you're looking for a freelance, part-time or full-time opportunity, always be nice, polite, friendly and professional. You never know who you may meet and where the next job opportunity will come from.
Be careful what you write and what you say. If you make the wrong people made, they might stand in your way down the road when you are trying to advance your career to the next level.
Oh, I've made some people mad - coaches, fans, parents, etc., but I never got sued, fired or beat up because of something I wrote.
Sports writing is a fun career, no matter what level you want to take it. It's a fun ride! Enjoy ever minute of it.
|Quiz 1||15 questions|
A simple quiz features questions and answers from this course on "How To Earn Extra Income By Being A Sports Writer."
Questions are presented in both multiple choice and True/False formats.
|Lecture 21||2 pages|
Use this simple "Getting Started" worksheet to remind you of the simple answers to questions that might be keeping you from applying for a freelance, part-time or full-time sports writing opportunity.
Remember, if you don't have experience, you can easily start getting experience by attending local sporting events; interviewing coaches and writing your own sports stories.
Create a local sports blog and publish your own sports articles there. Don't forget to include your byline, so you'll get credit for your work.
The tough questions that are floating around in your mind are here within the worksheet. The answers are easy. Don't let barriers get in your way!
And, by all means, please ask questions here through the course conversation section. I'll be happy to answer any and all questions and help you along the way!
I have over 15 years of online reputation management and search engine optimization experience working with a variety of local, national and international businesses in helping them improve their online reputation; earn better customer reviews and obtain higher rankings in Google and other search engines.
Previously, I worked as a self-employed, software consultant and trainer helping law firms and lawyers understand new technology and upgrade their network systems and software programs.
My background also includes 13 years as a newspaper sports writer and news reporter.
I am currently the Vice President of Mountain Woods Media, LLC.