Bigger and better: SJA guide to training courses

JON VALE introduces the Olympian-sized edition of the SJA’s online guide to journalism courses and training

It is a question racking the brains of thousands across the country: how do I become a sports journalist?

Well, while it is an extremely long and competitive road to the top, our recently updated training section is as good a place as anywhere to start.

First, you’ll find a comprehensive list of formal qualifications in journalism and similar areas of study, all of which will help you cross that bridge from “raving blogger” to “proper reporter”.

There should be something for everyone. This is the most extensive list that the SJA has published. It includes 209 undergraduate degree courses, 124 postgraduate degrees and a selection of 47 “other courses” such as fast-track diplomas, BTEC and HND options at college as well as home-study courses for those without the time or money for university.

However, please don’t think a journalism or sports journalism degree is a golden ticket on to a national sports desk or into the commentary booth at the Olympic stadium. The SJA’s advice remains that you ought to consider getting as good a degree as you can in at as good a university as you can, regardless of discipline, before looking to specialise once you graduate. The specialist courses at City and Cardiff Universities, especially at postgraduate level, are very well-respected in the industry.

Yet what you do in the classroom is only half the battle. Alongside the course listings, you’ll also find an extensive list of potential work experience opportunities, also updated, at the biggest names in the print and broadcast media, plus details on where to find more local placements – in the current climate of plentiful and varied qualifications, practical experience is just as crucial.

What’s more, there are details of 15 prestigious student journalism awards – all invaluable accolades on any CV – as well as a series of archived articles that make essential reading for any prospective sports hack, written by esteemed industry figures such as Daily Mail chief sportswriter Martin Samuel and the SJA’s training officer Keith Elliott.

There is also a selection of “other useful resources”, perfect for any young journalist wishing to stay ahead of the game. Here, you’ll find details of the three main bodies in journalism training – the NCTJ, BJTC and PTC – as well as funding information for certain training courses and other excellent sources of news and opportunities.

All in all, we believe the resource is the most thorough of its kind, and hopefully offers useful advice for young sports journalists at any stage of their development.


Tue July 24: Olympic media service and reception, St Bride’s Church. For more details click here.

Thu Dec 6: 2012 SJA British Sports Awards. An Olympic year extravaganza. Note the date in your diary now. Details to be announced soon.