With yet more news of job cuts and pagination reductions impacting the work prospects for journalism students across the UK, in the United States a more optimistic JASON FRY has posted his five-point guide for aspiring sports writers
Last week I was talking to a college class in sports media when the instructor – with whom I’d had a somewhat doleful conversation about newspapers’ prospects – asked a simple question. Did I think today’s students should still become sportswriters?
My first reaction was, I think, understandable in this day and age: I gulped. (Though only a bit.) And I was frank about the problems I think print newspapers face. They are being asked to make a highly uncertain transition from an eroding business that’s still profitable to an emerging business that is far less profitable. And even newspapers that take that plunge and go digital-first will still find themselves competing with digital-only entities that are completely focused on a slice of their business, without having to worry about everything else. Newspapers have been left to bleed from lots of little cuts, and will likely get a lot smaller as we discover what digital economics can support.
Fortunately, sportswriting is much larger than just print papers. And that leads to a more hopeful answer.
In the early 1990s, I told the students, I was a Mets fan living in Washington, D.C. I started my day with whatever meager portion of the Mets’ AP game story the Washington Post had printed, and ended it waiting for 30 seconds of Mets highlights on SportsCenter. Now, the only limit on how much Mets information I can consume is how much time I have. And so it is for fans of most any team or sport. Print papers face a wrenching transition, yes, but there has never been a better time to be a sports fan.
So, with that in mind, here are five reasons for aspiring sportswriters to take heart and stick with it.
- Jason Fry is a freelance writer in Brooklyn. He spent more than 12 years at The Wall Street Journal Online, as a writer, columnist and editor. While at WSJ.com he edited and co-wrote The Daily Fix, a daily roundup of the best sportswriting online. He blogs about the Mets at Faith and Fear in Flushing, and about the newspaper industry at Reinventing the Newsroom
- For the full SJA online archive of advice and support articles about journalism courses and how to become a sports journalist, click here
Other recent articles about journalism job cuts
- Journalists vote to strike over job cuts
- Northcliffe has cut 4,000 regional journalists’ jobs since 2005
- Express & Star publisher to axe around 90 jobs
- Oliver decides “no more” and leaves Observer
- 650 jobs to go in BBC World Service cuts
- BBC announces 360 jobs to go from online
- Golf magazine is left stuck in financial bunker
- NUJ condemns “betrayal” of regional subbing staff
- One-third of UK journalism jobs cut in past decade
UPCOMING SJA DATES
Mon Sep 12: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. Click here for more details and to book yourself in for the day.
Wed Dec 7: SJA 2011 British Sports Awards – note the date in your diary now.
All details subject to alteration. Keep checking sportsjournalists.co.uk for updates