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Breaking into Sports Writing at a young age

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by NCWriter, May 2, 2015.

  1. NCWriter

    NCWriter New Member

    Hello everyone,
    I am 16 years old and live in NC (hence the username). I've always loved sports of all kinds and have always wanted to be a sports writer. I love writing and I have a passion for sports. Its something I truly love to do that excites me when I wake up in the morning everyday. I know its tough at a young age to get a job sports writing that pays, I have written for a SB Nation teams site and started last year. Is there anyway to really get my career off the ground before college. I don't care about workloads or anything, I have passion and drive for my dream and I will work as hard as possible to make it a reality. So what's a good route to take to get good expiernce, get paid and start building connections? I have seen bitterness on this forum because of busy hours and little pay but, this is something I really want to do money doesn't matter to me at all.
    Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
  2. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    Go to your local paper and see if they need any part-time desk help.
  3. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    The local paper is a really good start. If it's a smaller town, especially, they can probably use some help covering high school games. The spring season is likely winding down, but see if you can work part-time or intern for them in the summer to get a feel for each other and then latch on for football season.
    If you can work in the office some, it'll also make you realize that working in the industry is a lot more than just covering games. You'll get a feel for the production side of things, which will only help you.

    As far as honing your craft, read and write some stuff. Pay attention to how the story is crafted, not what it says. Why is this piece of information here, or that quote there? They can be a bit rote and formulaic, but find some AP gamers online and check them out. See how most of them get to the point.
    If you want some reps, watch some NBA playoff games or MLB games on TV and try to write a story off of it. You'll be able to find stats and quotes online.
    Nothing beats firsthand experience, though, so email or call the sports editor at the local paper and see if you can do some stringing for them. I hate to suggest doing it for free, because then you never will get paid, but it might be worth it if you don't need the money and just want some experience.
  4. It wouldn't hurt to ask if the local paper would publish some freelance gamers and such. But I think a more likely scenario would be blogging online, for a North Carolina fan-site or something. I say that because I don't see any 16-year-olds doing "field work," but that's just where I'm from.

    Good luck with whatever comes of it. I enjoy the profession and it's not as bad as you may read on here sometimes.
  5. ringer

    ringer Member

    The best thing you can do is try to get an internship in the newsroom - not sports, but news. You really have to learn how to be a good reporter before focusing on any particular subject matter. News will/should teach you clarity, brevity, and how to organize facts. It will also teach you what constitutes a good source/bad source. And how to write on deadline. Trust me, you'll want/need sound fundamentals if you want to make a career out of writing. Also, if possible, try to work with someone who's older than 30. Better yet, older than 40.
  6. Craig Sagers Tailor

    Craig Sagers Tailor Active Member

    What part of NC are you in? Send me a PM if you want.
  7. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    This times 100. My college paper adviser told me the exact same stuff. I started in sports and now I'm trying to eliminate all my bad habits I've picked up along the way.

  8. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    If you're near a college with a decent journalism school, see if you can take a basic journalism class or two your senior year of high school. It will pay off as far as easing your credit load when you're in college, plus you'll get some of the basics down early.
  9. ncdeen

    ncdeen Member

    Going to your local paper and seeing if you can help cover a game is fine, but they might not take you seriously. I would devote the time you have before college to learn how to write. Get a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style. Read it daily. And the best way to learn how to write is to read. Devour other people's stories and get a feel for how they are written, then develop your own style and voice. Oh, the things I would do differently if I could be 16 again.
  10. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    This thread is going much better than I anticipated.
  11. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    It should continue that way, I would hope. It's what the young man requested.
  12. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    I'll add something very basic to the excellent advice you've received: Make spelling and grammar skills a high priority.
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