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Hiring bias against sports writers?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SnarkShark, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I'm relatively new to journalism compared to others on this board (about five years) and I have been writing about sports for most of my career, but I have experience in news and have considered/am considering a move to news.

    I can't tell you how many times I have been rejected immediately when applying for open positions in news because sports is my specialty.

    In part, I understand, with the flood of resumes, why a person with a sports background wouldn't get serious consideration on a crime or local news beat, but the volume of responses I've received in this manner is concerning. I've always been a big believer that sports writers should all be able to write straight news (and do, when news breaks in the sports realm).

    Is this something that has been happening for others? Is it a recent issue or does it go back well beyond my time?
     
  2. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    It does happen. People get pigeonholed. But, remember, it works both ways. If you've spent five years on a business beat, it might not be easy transitioning to sports.

    I was fortunate that I had a lot of varied experiences --- hard news, sports, features, business, copy desk, etc. --- pretty early in my career.
     
  3. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I'd (generally) rather send a sports writer to cover a house fire than to send a county government reporter to cover a football game.

    But, even as you present yourself on this thread, you say "sports is my specialty."

    Is it possible you have a messaging problem in your job pitch?
     
  4. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Member

    I know the other way around it works in your favor. My college paper adviser was fond of a writer at her old shop who originally covered crime then started covering sports. Back in the day, the likes of Halberstam and Heinz covered war and it made them better sports writers for it. Also, I've heard a lot of people hear where you're coming form, Snark.
     
  5. Bradley Guire

    Bradley Guire Well-Known Member

    When I made the switch to crime and courts from sports, I didn't have to work too hard to convince management I could do the job. I made sure to cover harder news within the sports scene, like finances, concussions, high schoolers using supplements and steroid precursors, etc.

    I did not waste my time writing volleyball and soccer gamers every week.
     
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    All this. Never go into an interview making excuses.
     
  7. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    For whatever reason, sports isn't looked at seriously by some on the news side when it should be the other way around. "The toy department" is under pressure every day to perform on deadline. I love election night when news side goes ape shit while sports just keeps chugging along.
     
  8. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty New Member

    when i jumped ship for news, it was because the city editor position at my paper had come open and they busted my hump until i agreed to take the gig. maybe you should consider taking a news job at your present place of employment and the jump the shark after you have a year or so under your belt.
     
  9. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    I've always felt that good sports writers make good news writers. Good sports writers must cover a large swath of things that encompass news on it's own. Hirings, firings, athletic budgets, contracts and crime, injuries, tragedies, health and illness issues, all go into any sports beat at the higher levels. If you're experienced writing about these in sports, you shouldn't have much problem transitioning to news.

    My suggestion would be that your sales pitch should show off all the news sides of sports you already know how to report.
     
  10. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Doc, you've hit a homer. A good sports writer is versatile and can cover just about anything. In short, he's a journalist.
     
  11. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    Well said. I went from news to sports to news and back to sports. The transition was seamless each time.
     
  12. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    You don't talk like this is real life, do you?
     
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