How Sports Journalism Impacts Society

How Sports Journalism Impacts Society

So, you want to be a sports journalist? Contrary to what people believe, sports journalism is more than just writing about who won or lost, analyzing statistics or predicting sporting outcomes.

Sports journalism is the art of capturing the moment. You have to know who you are writing for and have a good eye for detail. Doing so lets you recreate the action and make it seem like your readers were there when it happened.

In telling stories of victories and defeats, you can add colors to your readers’ lives. In fact, beyond recounting thrilling moments that happen on the field or in the ring, good sports journalism can inspire others, instill a spirit of activism, expose corruption and shine a light on underdiscussed issues. This article explores the many ways in which sports journalism can positively impact society.

Sports journalism helps abolish social differences

The great wealth inequality in the US is deeply troubling. According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve, the top 1% of the population accounts for 38.5% of the nation’s wealth. This often leads to economic and social discrimination. For the country to flourish, prosperity must be accessible to all.

So, where does sports journalism fit into this? The advantage of sports is that people from all walks of life are treated equally. Whether rich or poor, every athlete receives equal opportunities to show their skills and abilities.

As a sports journalist, you can tell these stories and lift the spirits of your readership so that those who are disadvantaged in society can still strive to reach greater heights. In doing so, you can abolish social differences and instill a mindset of positivity rather than “buts” and “what-ifs.”

Sports journalism encourages healthy socialization

The importance of socializing is too hard to ignore. Learning how to interact and engage with others around you in an appropriate way is a cornerstone of a healthy society.

Through sports journalism, individuals can develop healthy socialization skills. Your work will encourage readers to share their thoughts and opinions about a specific game or player with others.

By socializing through sports journalism, humans can establish their social identity and transmit culture to the next generation. Speaking of culture distribution, since journalism is regarded as a historical artifact, it can be used by future generations as the basis for their decisions and how they deal with the rigors of life.

Sports journalism holds institutions and athletes accountable

Building a society where the powerful are held accountable to the public and where relevant information is shared publicly is the foundation of journalism. The same can be said of sports journalism. Unfortunately, the sports industry has been ridden with corrupt personalities ranging from Barry Switzer and Frederick Lorz to Pete Carroll and Boris Onischenko.

Athletes and sports institutions make decisions or implement laws that impact the game. That is why society must have ways of holding them accountable to keep everything in balance. In developing sports, especially those with authoritarian and non-democratic leadership, sports journalism assumes a critical watchdog role that promotes accountability as a counterbalancing power.

Without sports journalists, institutions and athletes are left to their devices, and fans cannot find a way to advocate for their concerns. Given their unique role, journalists can have a significant impact when working together with sports organizations and luminaries.

Accountability in sports journalism can mean several things, although the broader concept often points to accurate, impartial and independent reporting. To enforce these core values, sports journalists must adopt codes of conduct set by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). The four principles that are the foundation of ethical sports journalism include the following.

1. Seek truth and report it

Ethical sports journalism must be fair and accurate. As a sports journalist, you must be courageous and honest in gathering and reporting information. This means taking responsibility and verifying information before releasing the story, identifying sources clearly and considering their motives, and supporting the open and civil exchange of views and opinions.

2. Reduce harm

Good sports journalism goes beyond seeking the truth and reporting it. You must also treat sources, colleagues, members of the public and subjects as individuals deserving of respect. This means understanding the public’s need for information against potential discomfort or harm. While chasing every story is the name of the game, pursuing the news is not a license for undue intrusiveness or arrogance.

3. Act independently

Serving the public is the primary and highest obligation of ethical sports journalism. This means avoiding conflicts of interest (perceived or actual), disclosing unavoidable conflicts, refusing special treatment and avoiding activities that may compromise the impartiality or integrity of the story. By acting independently, sports journalists can resist internal and external factors influencing coverage and ensure that their stories are fair and factual.

4. Be transparent and accountable

As mentioned above, ethical sports journalism means taking responsibility for your work and explaining one’s decisions to the public. As a sports journalist, you must explain moral choices and civil conversations about news content and coverage with the public. This includes responding quickly to queries about fairness, clarity and accuracy, acknowledging and correcting mistakes, and exposing unethical conduct, including those in established sports organizations.

Sports journalism gives a voice to the voiceless

Allowing fans and athletes to speak their minds is the most important function of sports journalism and an important reason why sports writers should take their work seriously. In an ideal world, fans’ and athletes’ voices would be heard equally, but the reality is the sports world is far from ideal.

With good sports journalism, traditionally ignored or silenced individuals are provided a platform to express and tell their stories. This way, they can be heard on a large scale by those in power who might not otherwise listen. Sports journalism also provides a voice to marginalized groups that do not fall into a specific identity category but multiple categories.

By providing these athletes and fans with a platform to speak publicly about their experiences, they can advocate for themselves and others. In doing so, they can help drive social change by educating the public about critical issues and raising awareness about social problems that must be resolved.

Seeing this kind of coverage in the news can make athletes, fans and organizations more engaged than ever before, leading an entire community to get actively involved and change things for the better. It also allows sharing of information with potential readers who might not otherwise have access to crucial data.

How to become a sports journalist

Are you a sports enthusiast who wakes up at three in the morning to watch Arsenal take on Manchester United? Do you have sports statistics at your fingertips? Then, there is a good chance you want to be a sports journalist. While there is no one-size-fits-all formula to becoming a sports journalist, here are some steps to get started.

Pick a specialization or area of sports journalism

It is not uncommon for aspiring sports journalists to get blindsided by the fact that sports journalism is a broad field. By finding the correct type of sports journalism, you can concentrate on a specific area to help you decide on a degree program. Some subfields you may want to consider are the following.

Online sports journalism: Digital or sports journalism covers sports stories for online platforms such as social media and websites. This includes creating written, video and audio content that provides news about existing events, developments and exciting stories in the sporting world.

Magazine: This type of sports journalism concentrates on writing short and long-form articles. Depending on the organization you work for, this can include covering human-interest stories or topical news articles about current events in the sporting industry.

Broadcast: This involves working in television or radio, wherein you will cover live events and provide analysis and play-by-play coverage. To do this, you might be in the studio covering a match or on the scene at a live sporting event.

Newspaper: This involves working in a fast-paced environment where you will interview various industry contacts, sports luminaries and experts. You will then write those stories and submit them on the same day.

Moreover, you should also pick a sport of your choosing. Although sports journalists are expected to be relatively familiar with the sporting world at large, choosing a niche is essential in improving your overall skills and maximizing your strong suits.

Earn an accredited journalism degree

Almost every media organization requires their sports journalists to hold a relevant undergraduate degree accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists. Regardless of your chosen academic institution, your sports journalism degree online program could be interdisciplinary, such as the program offered by St. Bonaventure University.

SBU’s course includes modules that cover the role of the sports journalist in an ever-changing media landscape, the ethical issues they’ll often be faced with, cultivating and keeping contacts and working relationships with players and team personnel, as well as developing their interviewing skills.

While some aspects of your degree program can vary depending on your chosen academic institution, its curriculum will often concentrate on interview techniques, feature writing, game commentary, production, photography, news writing and reporting.

This means your program will focus on more practical examinations to gauge your skills and improve your reporting and writing skills. While working towards your degree, writing for your school’s newspaper or local newsletter can help enhance your journalistic skills.

Generally, a student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 from their undergraduate program to be accepted into an advanced journalism degree program. They might also need letters of recommendation and a comprehensive resume to boost their application.

A rule of thumb when applying for a sports journalism degree is to tell the school representatives what you would like to accomplish from the program, which helps them assess if the program will meet your needs. In doing so, you can ensure you have the fundamental training to become a competitive sports journalist.

Obtain work experience

There is no getting around it. Sports journalism is competitive, and only the best make it to the top. Before progressing through the ranks, aspiring sports writers may have to do significant leg work to build contacts and relationships with their sources. Therefore, obtaining work experience as early as possible is crucial in going further in the industry.

You can apply for internship and shadowing opportunities when studying for a sports journalism degree., You can also find opportunities by contacting prominent news agencies or broadcasters. Most of these opportunities are unpaid and voluntary, but they are helpful as you will learn the inner workings of the sports industry.

Alternatively, you can try freelance sports journalism to cover events in your free time. This is increasingly popular thanks to online platforms providing aspiring sports writers with freelancing positions. In this scenario, you will be paid for the work, learn how to cover stories and create comprehensive and engaging content for your chosen sports journalism area.

Once you’ve established yourself and built a portfolio, find a niche to work towards. This might mean focusing on a specific sport, such as football, basketball or tennis, or on a particular area of journalism, such as press office work, photography, regional journalism or radio presenting.

Start a meaningful career as a sports journalist today

Working as a sports journalist can be both rewarding and meaningful. You’ll get the chance to meet luminaries that other people could only dream of talking to. You can find out what moves them, makes them laugh and makes them human. If that sounds exciting to you, then it’s time to sign up for a sports journalism degree today.

Article written by admin

By Profession, he is an SEO Expert. From heart, he is a Fitness Freak. He writes on Health and Fitness at MyBeautyGym. He also likes to write about latest trends on various Categories at TrendsBuzzer. Follow Trendsbuzzer on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.