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Learning how to be a sports writer

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sethcohen, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. sethcohen

    sethcohen New Member

    I have been working at a weekly paper for the last eight months now. It's my first job out of college and I mostly took the job because it was the only one I could get that was near where I live.

    However, as the sports editor and sole sports writer in this place, I don't have anyone to teach me anything about how to be a sports writer. The other writers in this place are either fresh out of college like I am or they've been writing at weekly newspapers for more than a decade, and they really don't have anything to teach me.

    I don't know what to do, because at this point I feel like I haven't learned anything about the profession in my eight months on the job. The only benefit I've gotten out of it is being able to put the job on my resume and send off fresh, non-college paper, clips during my job search.

    I'm looking for a new job, but in the meantime, how can I learn about being a sports writer when there is no one here for me to learn from? Things like just learning how to build sources and find interesting stories on a prep sports beat?
  2. BujuBanton

    BujuBanton Member

    www.sportsmediaguide.com has great interviews with prominent writers and columnists that I've learned some things from. There is also a section of sportsjournalists.com where people give tips and advice. You could also try to get a contact at a bigger daily in the area and if you're lucky a vet might give you some pointers. Being mentored by a writer at a large metro daily opened a lot of doors for me, and if you can find someone along those lines they might appreciate your initiative and at the very least offer their name as a reference and possibly keep you in mind for a gig at their shop. Other than that just keep working at it, read a lot of other writers - not just in sports but regular news and books and it will help
  3. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    I would say find someone who has some experience in the business who can read your stories and offer some suggestions.
  4. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

  5. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    Eight months and your a sports editor? That's ridiculous, but not too surprising anymore.

    I agree with Petty, READ. Not just sports but news stories and feature stories. See how the story is developed and structured. Read what's going on in other parts of your paper.
  6. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Everytime you hear 'This is how we normally do it,' run far, far away from that story.
    The only way, I believe, to break out of the weekly environment is to break out of the normal stories.
  7. Rex Harrison

    Rex Harrison Member

    Seth, your life is in shambles. First, you snub your family legacy by not going to Berkley. Then you smoke pot and miss your interview with the Brown recruiter. Now you want to be a sports writer! I had such high hopes for you. Oy.
  8. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

    Posnanski, Joe. Star, Kansas City.
    Smith, Gary. Illustrated, Sports.
    Calkins, Geoff. Commercial-Appeal, Memphis.
    Jones, Chris. Magazine, Esquire.

    Them, Read.
  9. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    Take $20 out of your wallet right now and burn it. Then stand above a metal bar and drop yourself, spread-legged on the rod. Immediately following that, try to churn out 12 inches in 20 minutes. Then, you'll learn how to be a sports writer.
  10. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

  11. sportsnut

    sportsnut Member

    God bless you for being so helpful. No seriously, contact someone at the major metro and ask if they would do you a great favor to read your stuff once in a while. I have done it with a few major reporters and it does help. Also write something and post it here for people to read and give you honest answers.
  12. GBNF

    GBNF Active Member

    That's a good suggestion, S_N.

    Post in the writer's workshop, and listen to WHATEVER THE HELL Jcmacg and Double Down have to say. They've helped me a lot, and they will for you, as well.
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