A Career in Sports Media

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ESPN’s College GameDay at Ohio State on 11/26/2016. To many outsiders, TV-facing personalities such as Kirk Herbstreit are the epitome of a career in sports media  (photo by College GameDay)

 

I was a 14-year-old high school freshman the first time I was sent to a Junior Varsity football game with a notepad and a camera. Intimidated by my athletic peers and disinterested in sports, I was not thrilled by my first yearbook assignment, but I would soon be excited by the stories to watch and tell in the world of sports.

What draws me most to a career in sports are just those– the countless stories waiting to be discovered and told, that can change the way others perceive and consume the sports media that so heavily saturates our world today. Seemingly insignificant details, like the timing of a franchise move or the analysis of a team’s color scheme, can unlock dozens of opinions, years of history, and demands for explanations, even years after they happen. Player and team profiles can influence fandom, and with games, matches, and meets occurring daily at amateur through professional levels, the story of sports is never complete.

With the constant influx of stories comes the expectancy of sports media professionals to never “turn-off,” working unconventional hours and being willing to adapt and change themes based on seconds of game play. As we have discussed, reporters can have stories completed, proof-read, and ready to be published before a game even ends, only for the expected results to change minutes (or even seconds) before the final buzzer.

A career in sports media is also not as broad as it sounds. For example, most sports journalists focus on only one or two sports to cover, and build up their expertise over time. While other sports media careers, such as broadcasting, graphic design, and social media management may allow professionals to work with a broader variety of sports and teams, individuals rarely have no specialization due to the nature of the industry.

Finally, a career in sports media requires an ability to look objectively at games, and to leave fandom to the fans (though some people do not believe this is entirely necessary). This is another quality that draws me to the sports media industry—learning to watch, analyze, and publish not just scores, but meaningful results from and reports on these events can help promote a more analytical outlook on the rest of the world.

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