Becoming a sports journalist, part 1


Journalists have many different beats and specializations from which to choose from when it comes to choosing a career path — entertainment, sports, music, economy, politics, international and so forth.

Sports journalism is  an area that can take time to learn how to write it so it is fun, simple, and explicit to the audience.

The article “How to Become a Sports Journalist” edited by Donald Pillai and others teaches us the important steps to becoming a successful sports journalist in today’s society.

According to the article, first you have to be “passionate about sports.” This step is quite obvious, since there must be a sense of excitement coming from the journalist so he or she can transmit it to the people reading whatever the journalist writes about. The person has to like what they are writing about, that way they actually know what they are saying. Also, sports history is important to know and be informed of.

Next is also a step that everyone should know: reading about sports article. The only way you can really learn is by reading the work of others. That way the journalist can critique his own work and maybe add a different structure to it so it is easier, cleaner, and more entertaining to read.

“Familiarize yourself with the way a sports journalist writes. Study your favorite sports journalists to see why they might have become so successful,” Pillai wrote.

This last sentence is a good advice since if you want to be the best at what you do, do not  imitate that person you look up to, but unite those things about he or she you like with your own. Combine them and the best piece of work will come out.

Step three: Just write. Writing about sports is just one branch of writing you have to be a good writer, one that can write about anything not just sports.

Step four: “Get an education” This refers to completing high school, focusing on getting good results from your writing classes. According to the article:

You will need a Bachelor’s degree to pursue a career in sports journalist. Go to a four-year college and major in English, with a concentration in Journalism. Consider getting graduate degree. This will make you more desirable to potential employers. Note that it may be easier to work on your graduate degree once you have gotten your first job.”

Step five is one that most students right now in college should most likely want to pay attention to: join your University’s newspaper. Not only for the curriculum and resumé, but also so you can prepare yourself for the real world. Doing internships, volunteering, and putting your work out there in websites and in your university’s newspaper are all necessary steps you have to take before having a real job. Why? Because just a degree or a title is not enough for the majority of the people who will hire you. They have to know you are not only well-experienced at the job you are applying for, but also good at it. Becoming your University’s sports journalist will help you in many ways.

If you are still in high school, joining it’s newspaper is also a perfect beginning for a successful career in the future.

Becoming a sports journalist, part 2


In this other half of this pair of posts, we continue with the steps to becoming a successful sports journalist!

Step six, according to the article “How to Become a Sports Journalist,” refers to becoming an intern, as I previously mentioned. Applying for internships and working at several different stations will give you good experience for your future. It will show you what it will be like in the real world, and it will give you the opportunity for you to decide what it is you are good for and what not. What you really like and what you don’t. Maybe by doing the internship you realize that sports writing is not what you want to do in life, or maybe you realize it is the perfect job for you.

Next you want to apply for an “entry-level job.If you interned at a specific newspaper, apply there first because they will be more likely to hire an intern they’ve worked with than someone outside the company.”

This is completely true, but it is not always this way so do not get too attached to the idea. The process to finding your ideal job can take time, so do not get frustrated.

Step eight, according to the article, would be to consider freelancing. “If you’re having difficulty finding a full-time, regular job, try your hand at freelance writing. Send queries to sports magazines and newspapers about which you know.

If they like your query, they will hire you to write the article, and if they like your article, they may hire you on a contract basis or even full time.” Freelancing is a start to make good connections and to let others read your work. It might get you a job you did not even dream of getting. Is a matter of right timing and good writing.

Also I believe that if you are having trouble or do not find exactly what you are looking for, consider teaching. Once you are good at sports writing, teaching can always be something you can do to help others, to gain some money, and for yourself as a way to keep gaining more experience.

Last but not least, earning a bachelor of arts degree in journalism or communication with courses in “mass media, advanced writing, news reporting, public speaking and political communications,” is the final step to becoming a sports journalist.

This article shows us the basic steps to becoming a sports journalists, but we should also keep in mind values that will help make it through these steps: honesty, respect, love for what you do, and humility.

Has journalism fallen?


Theodore Dawes explains in his article “The Fall of Journalism” that people tend to think that the newspaper is the product and that people are the customers. He says it is the other way around, stating that “advertisers are the customer and reader attention is the product.”

He explains that for years he has asked the same question: “Why are newspapers published?” and says he has received no good answer. To him, the real answer is because it makes money for the publisher.

Dawes believes that it is all driven by advertising and is about money, not really about the structure of it and those well-written articles, pointing out that he has “never taken a course in journalism, which I regard as a boon to my career and particularly to my reporting.”

This is an interesting point of view by a journalist himself, also expressing the relationship between newspaper owners and reporters; this first one taking advantage of reporters.

“Newspaper owners have for centuries utilized this leaning to pay reporters peanuts.  In fact, reporters are the lowest paid among occupations that require a college degree. In most places they earn 40-50 percent less than the local librarian. The newspaper owners benefit greatly from the naiveté of those in their newsroom.  They’re not going to say a word.”

This caught my attention because it should not be like that since reporters are primarily the ones who find something newsworthy for people and who are making an impact in the audience.

Dawes has another interesting point of view regarding journalism: he does not believe there exists such thing as “journalistic objectivity,” which is “a significant principle of journalistic professionalism that can refer to fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and nonpartisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities.” He states that people believe they are reading the objective news, when in fact they are not: “Objective news was and remains a joke, but Americans continue to believe it exists.”

There are many points of view in society about what journalism is or should be, and many people out there who have different opinions and ways to look at the profession as a whole. But we journalists have to keep in mind that no matter what it is said, we always stick to the basics of professional journalism: write the truth and only the truth. Be honest to your audience and always give them something newsworthy for them to read about.

You can read more at:

Steps to being a good journalist, part 2


A good journalist also needs a few of other interesting characteristics.

According to the article: ”Journalism – Facts & Directory,” one specific characteristic a journalist must have is to be resourceful. “Resourcefulness gives a person the ability to be able to always find a solution to difficult situations that can sometimes be at a dead end. Being a committed journalist is also important. There are sacrifices that must be made in a journalists’ personal life at times in order to get work done.” This is not only describing resourcefulness but also the virtue of sacrifice.

Sometimes journalists have to put things aside so a good story can be accomplished. Finding stories, news, or anything interesting to the public is something that can take time, even more if the journalist is making the correct steps and gathering the necessary evidence to support the story.

Apart from these characteristics, I believe a good journalist should be considerate. He should know how to talk to people about certain things and how to correctly approach the situation. There are going to be lots of times where a difficult situation will come up, and a good journalist must know what to do and how to handle it without affecting those around him.

Speed and accuracy is also crucial. It is not enough to write well you have to also be a fast writer. This is where many aspiring journalists have problems. They might do well in writing classes and show a good grasp of the news, but when it comes to deadlines they suffer.”  This is also a very important point. Journalists need to be fast and aware at all times, because in one minute your story might be taken, or worst, stolen.

If you as a journalist are not capable of being quick, even if you have the best story, it can lose impact if it is not shared rapidly and through the correct sources. 

Journalists need to know how to work fast, under pressure, but maintaining the accuracy present at all times. “There will be times where editors may yell and you will find yourself in a high-pressure environment, you may have problems with co-workers under similar stress.”

The article also mentions how good journalists turn in a clean copy and do not depend on the editor, which means “they must posses decent spelling and grammar skills.” Also, confidence is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Confidence will get a journalist the answers wanted and it will give he or she the sufficient strength to “take that extra step in order to get his or her story written.”

Steps to being a good journalist, part 1


Journalists have to keep a lot of things in mind if they want to be the best at what they do.

After reading several articles, I concluded that one of the most important things of being an outstanding journalist is to be one step ahead and always be prepare to cover a good story anywhere you go. The article that caught my attention, titled “How to Be a Good Journalist,” gives us seven simple steps to be a good journalist:

The first one would be to enjoy writing. Writing is not always easy, and journalists have to know which is the best form of language to communicate with the public. Journalists need to know structures like the “inverted pyramid” and how to apply them in a newsworthy story. Like the article states “if you don’t enjoy writing, reading, meeting new people, being under pressure, well then you’ve come to the wrong career choice, journalism is all about writing.”

Another step they say would be to carry a journal around to write about anything that pops into your head. “Most well known journalists had diaries when they were younger to practice their writing skills.” I believe writing is something that will get better by pure practice, and the more you do it the better journalist you’ll become. A journal about anything that happens in your life is the perfect practice to improve writing skills.

Step three: Carry a camera with you. Why? to illustrate your stories or articles and give the public something different to see other than paragraphs of words.

Step four would be to carry a pencil or a pen with you plus a pad at all times. A good journalist has to be prepared for unplanned breaking news that he or she wil need to cover. Even if you are not on working hours, you should always remember that the best reporter is the one that will get it all or at least some good information in good timing and with good quality.

Step five the article states it should be the willingness to meet new people. This can be the most challenging but at the same time the most interesting and fun part of being a journalist. In this career you will meet many new personalities and types of people you never knew you would encounter with. As a reporter, it is your job to learn how to obtain information from people in a fast way without breaking any rules or harming anyone.

Step six is to be honest and truthful to your audience. This means that no matter what you have to communicate that you are 100 percent sure is the true version of what happened. To accomplish this, a good journalist will support the story with evidence so that the audience can rely on it and actually believe the words written.

Last, but not least, a good journalist needs to be in touch with media at all times. Reading,watching, listening to radio, all of these activities are necessary for a reporter because he or she has to always know what is happening around the world. Also, by reading a lot new vocabulary will emerge for the journalist to use in his work: “A comprehensive vocabulary can help bring your stories and poems to life, enabling you to better describe the world around you.”

Should we use Twitter for our news?


Twitter is an interesting form of information source. According to the article, “The Twitter Explosion,” by Paul Farhi, “it all depends” on whether Twitter can be a useful news tool or not.

Why? Unknown

Because sometimes it is fast, newsworthy, and reachable for millions of people. But sometimes, it gives incorrect information, for example, immediately after the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing attack. Sometimes it can even give false information so damaging that it can actually destroy a person’s life.

Like the article says, Twitter is a “free social networking service that enables anyone to post pithy messages, known as tweets, to groups of self-designated followers. The tweets can be sent from and received by any kind of device — desktop, laptop, BlackBerry, cellphone.”

This is practical in one way but, in another, it also means that many people not only have fast access to the information, but also to the posting of it, even if sometimes what they post is not true. The problem with this service functioning as a news source is the fact that so many people use it nowadays and but some do not have the best intentions. 

Why is Twitter different from other sources? Because it is a type of media which is utilized not only for breaking news, but for many sorts of things such as giving news about events, stores, sports, and of course for individuals who want to share their own thoughts. Anyone can post and its content is neither filtered nor edited by professional journalists.

Twitter is capable of creating conversations between different sources, provides the ability to comment, as well as the opportunity to “retweet” someone else’s posts. WIth all of these possibilities, it is easy for a rumor to be formed and rapidly be delivered to millions of people around the world.

News reporters use Twitter from any event and ‘tweet’ what is going on around them.

“Twitter can be a serious aid in reporting. Reporters now routinely tweet from all kinds of events — speeches, meetings and conferences, sports events,” said Farhi, which I believe is true but, for that same reason, people should always make sure that what they are reading is true and that it has enough evidence to support the written facts.

Venezuelan press endures tough times


“In a public hearing before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, journalism organizations called 2011 the worst year for the Venezuelan press because of the rise in attacks against reporters and news media, reported the AFP,” according to the Journalism in the Americas Blog, under the article titled “Venezuelan journalists declare freedom of expression situation as “critical.”

Journalists in Venezuela are going through a difficult time. Freedom of expression and the citizen’s rights are being violated on a daily basis. Furthermore, television news shows are being shut down by the government. With little support and alarming things happening in the country, journalists have to be now more than ever careful in what they write about and who they address their stories to.

TV news show are being controlled by the government, because it wants to control the news they provide for the Venezuelan community, that way the information the government doesn’t want to share will stay in secret.

The article also states the fact that last year 203 violations of freedom of expression were recorded and of these, two-thirds were related to attacks and threats (many of which have gone unpunished, like it generally happens).

In The Media and the Citizen, by Boris Munoz, he let us know a little bit of the extreme situation in which Venezuela has been in: “In April, 2002, in the midst of the most intense period of confrontation between the opposition and the government, media barons actively supported a coup against Chávez by creating a media blackout. The screens of the most important private TV outlets would run only old cartoons; some of the national newspapers didn’t circulate, thus preventing the public from knowing what was going on in the country, or even about the president’s whereabouts.”

During the last three months, the government has taken programs off the air that had most manifestly criticized the government. Globovisión, the last remaining independent TV station in Venezuela was sold to government allies earlier this year. Like the article titled “Globovisión: The Latest Casualty in Venezuela’s Assault on Freedom of the Press” expresses:

“This unfortunate development shows that the threat to freedom of the press—and to all other civil liberties in Venezuela — will not go away with the death of Hugo Chávez.”

Blogging vs. Journalism


The talk Jay Rosen did about “The Twisted Psychology of Bloggers vs. Journalists” relates to how blogging and using the Internet to share stories is a whole new scenario, that’s actually interrupting journalists’ work.

“Work lives have been disrupted by the Internet. There’s an attraction there,” he says.

My point of view in this matter was supported when I read the words of an editor’s column in an Australian newspaper:

“The great thing about newspapers is that, love us or hate us, we’re the voice of the people. We represent the community, their views, their aspirations and their hopes. Bloggers, on the other hand, represent nothing. They whinge, carp and whine about our role in society, and yet they contribute nothing to it, other than satisfying their juvenile egos.”

This expresses reality and, for me, the complete truth. Yes, bloggers are going to be a constant problem in our society, but, after all, news is news and the newspapers are the ones going to inform citizens and the community in a way that doesn’t judge, that tells the truth, that’s reliable and remains a place where opinions don’t interfere, like in blogs. When you finish reading this contribution, you can choose which side, bloggers or journalists, or better, just understand where each one stands.

For me, journalists are the ones who have to go out there, have the experience, be in the situation (sometimes), so later on they can go and write the objective story. Bloggers just talk and write opinions (most of the time negative) about the news that have already occurred and told by the press. And if they do report original news, a lot of times it is not true, causing people to believe things that did not actually happen. Obviously, this can cause a lot of problems.

“I’ve said that bloggers and journalists are each others’ ideal “other.”

This sentence also grabbed my attention. I would say bloggers and journalists have a competition where, in fact, journalists have a fear of being replaced by these new individuals.

It is a new competition that, through the Internet, is overcoming the role of the press or, better yet, like was stated in The Introduction, the press itself is being absorbed into the media.

Citations, accuracy, and credibility


Expert witness William Gulya talks about citations and credibility in journalism on the website at

Gulya defines citations as an “abbreviated alphanumeric expression embedded in the body of an intellectual work that denotes an entry in the bibliographic references section of the work for the purpose of acknowledging the relevance of the works of others to the topic of discussion at the spot where the citation appears.”

And citations, of course, are at the heart of sourcing for journalists. We call it attribution. Gulya explains the important of accuracy in the stories we write, since our words should always be completely truthful, supported by sources and by the right evidence.

“Whether you have been an expert witness for years or are just starting out, accurate research, proper formatting of citations and clarity will make your written report accurate, impressive and, most of all, credible,” Gulya wrote, also explaining that making improper citations is a “critical error” which can lead to future complications.

Writing unreliable stories will provoke a loss of credibility from the audience. This is something we as journalists want to avoid, because losing credibility means what we write is not going to be taken seriously; not now, or in a close future.

Gulya also talks about stating facts and opinions, explaining that facts are objective, they are statements which can be proven. He also defines them as “something that can be verified and backed up with evidence.”

On the other hand he says opinions are subjective statements which express a certain preference or bias, and that they are basically based on a certain belief or point of view. He says opinions, on the contrary of facts,  are “not based on evidence that can be verified.” His advice is to always revise, check and cite your reference and source correctly when stating a fact or opinion.

I believe all of this information has to be taken seriously into account and we should definitely take notes from it, because what makes a journalist a good one is being able to present the information as clear as possible to his or her readers, using honesty as the first principle.

Timing, impact, prominence, proximity, human interest and novelty, all are part of the main factors that make a story newsworthy. But the element that will complete the story will always be good evidence and reliable sources to support the words written, in other words, to provide honesty to the story.

Where modern journalism stands …


Media is the new term we now use instead of press, said media critic Jay Rosen in his article “An Introduction,” explaining that the term is more of a “modern, abstract, inclusive, elastic, and of course more commercial” term.

Through this article Prof. Rosen tries to persuade readers that was he’s saying is true. He says “we need to keep the press from being absorbed into The Media.” This caught my attention because technology is definitely taking over and each day that goes by the Internet is more and more part of our lives.

The news we once had to sit and watch, or read in newspapers, are now available instantly in our computers, smartphones, or other portable devices.

This article, as a whole, is a way of saying we shouldn’t make that mistake of leaving press behind, since historically it’s what started it all, and for him the best “backward glancing term.”

Rosen defines it at the end as “Ghost of democracy in the media machine” and I believe it is the perfect way of expressing that press must not be forgotten and must always have a presence in this new modern journalism world we’ve seen grow and develop to these days.

The article can actually present to the world a certain assessment of where journalism stands now and where it’s headed. Nowadays, the public that was once on the other side to only receive information, now participates actively. It has become a two-way thing, where opinions, comments, even information from citizens, are now part of it all.

“Armed with easy-to-use Web publishing tools, always-on connections and increasingly powerful mobile devices, the online audience has the means to become an active participant in the creation and dissemination of news and information.” In other words, Rosen explains, journalism of today is “threatened by not just new technology and competitors but, potentially, by the audience it serves.”

This conversion in journalism has been occurring during the last few years and is all about telling stories in new and different ways, like for example using Twitter or Facebook, as well as blogs and other social media.

Since this is happening so fast around the world, sometimes we professional journalists have to be careful which way is the correct and best way to present information to the public, while always making sure it is accurate, true and reliable.