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Breaking into Sports Journalism
A panel discussion about covering sports for TV, newspapers, magazines, and blogs
Table of Contents
- Crib Sheet (PDF)
Download this outline and use it to take notes. Includes resources and other information.
- Highlights from the Panel FREE!
- Introductions (4:00) FREE!
Carmen Scheidel of mediabistro.com introduces panelists Alison Overholt, Robbyn Footlick, Steve Friedman, Will Leitch, Sam Walker, and Seth Wickersham.
- The Twisty-Turny Career Path (9:50) FREE!
The panelists describe their often-circuitous career paths and how they landed in sports journalism.
- The Making of a Great Sports Journalist (10:01) FREE!
The panel discusses what makes a great sports journalist and how the sports page has often become "way out of whack from what people are actually talking about."
- Breaking into Sports (3:42) FREE!
"There are a lot of pretty depressed people in that press box," says Seth Wickersham, adding that beat writing is a tough job. But there's room for everybody, as long as you bring something to the table, he says. Will Leitch adds, "If you're good, people find you."
- The Web and Breaking News (10:44) FREE!
How has the web changed sports journalism? Robbyn Footlick says, "Multimedia in general is an exercise in trying to be smarter and more creative." Essayist Steve Friedman counters that his work remains largely unchanged by the web.
- Web VS. Print (11:45) FREE!
Which stories are right for the web and which for print? Is journalistic access to the locker room necessary for good reporting? While answering these questions, the panelists delve into the triumphant and the shameful aspects of their field.
- The Craft (10:21) FREE!
Panelists give tips on how to stand out in the field (as well as how to dig yourself into a hole).
- How to Write a Great Story (6:28) FREE!
Look at the edges; never excuse yourself from a conversation; keep talking to people; uncomfortable silence is your friend.
- Questions from the Audience (8:58) FREE!
What's the best way to start in the business? The web offers writers opportunities to be discovered. Breaking in involves great writing and "busting your ass."
- Questions from the Audience, Part 2 (5:38) FREE!
Panelists discuss their favorite writers such as Gary Smith, A. J. Liebling, David Remnick, Roger Angel, David Halberstam, and Joe Posnanski.
- Questions from the Audience, Part 3 (15:12) FREE!
The last round of questions takes aim at switching beats, the salary of sports writers, and the effect of brand and medium on the final product.
Our panel of sports reporters, editors, bloggers and authors holds no punches in its dissection of sports media and what it takes to break in and get ahead. Sports writing is a genre that can easily go from rote reporting to epic narrative. By homing in on a compelling human interest story or larger cultural or political issues, you can go from being the stats guy to becoming a star reporter. But, with the rise of fan sites, blogs, and podcasts, is it even necessary to work your way up through established channels? And if you are already working in another area of the media, how do you establish your sports cred and get in the game? Our panelists get to the bottom of these questions.
1 hour, 35 minutes total running time