Sportswriter  What They Do

Just the Facts


Insider Info

dotSportswriters cover the world of sports. They write about games, personalities and issues using the same techniques and ethical guidelines as news reporters.

Sportswriting has cruised into the forefront of what is considered big news. There are dozens of publications that want to be first with a big story about the wide world of sports. Being a sportswriter is a lot closer to being a "hard news" journalist than it used to be.

dotBut how do you start? Lynn Zinser started with a degree in journalism. For her, sportswriting just made sense.

"I loved to write and I loved sports," says Zinser, "and it seemed like a good way to put those two together." She says that becoming a journalist is hard and sometimes discouraging work. "Just write as much as possible," she advises. "Do as much of it as you can to make sure you like doing it, and to show people that you will be good at it."

dotRising through the ranks of journalism can be difficult, especially in the world of sports. Deadlines are a constant challenge. Since many sporting events take place at night -- when daily newspapers are printed -- stories often have to be written in a matter of minutes.

Many sportswriters use a technique called "the running game story" -- writing about the game as it unfolds. The running story is continually updated from the top, with the oldest information being pushed down and eventually out of the story.

Sportswriter Grant Kerr is frank about how difficult the odd hours can really be. "This isn't a Dolly Parton [9-to-5] industry. The hours are different, probably every day. You work a lot of nights, split shifts, that kind of thing."

He adds that the lifestyle can be hard on his family. "It can create some hardships, but there [are] pros and cons to all jobs."

dotSportswriters must stand up to constant travel.

At a Glance

Report on sports games as well as the business deals

  • Many local newspapers hire high school students
  • Deadlines are a constant pressure
  • The vast majority of sportswriters have college degrees