Sports beat writers cover specific sports, teams, or leagues for newspapers or news organizations. They develop relationships with sources to break news quickly and travel with teams to cover games and events. Effective communication, computer skills, and knowledge of the sport are necessary, and a journalism degree and internship experience are typically required.
In journalism, the term “beat” refers to a specific news source, a group of sources, or a specific news topic. Beat writers are journalists who are tasked with covering specific topics, sources, or groups of sources. A sports joke writer is typically assigned to cover a specific sport, league, or team, usually for a newspaper. The writer often covers a single beat all year, even during any offseason for his beat. Some writers, however, cover more than one beat, especially if there’s little or no overlap between seasons.
Examples of sports rhythms
There are many ways sports beats can be awarded by a newspaper or other news organization. To give a few examples, a sports beat writer might be tasked with covering a professional baseball team, a college basketball league, or all high school football teams within an area. A writer might also be tasked with covering all of a particular college’s sports teams. Major papers in large cities are more likely to have many writers each covering a specific beat, but smaller papers may have fewer writers covering more jokes or more general jokes.
Cover a beat
A sports writer covers his pace by writing about any news story that affects him, often on a daily basis. In the 21st century, this could include posting to an Internet blog as well as providing articles for a newspaper. The writer could also provide analysis and feature stories paced by him on a regular basis in addition to writing about any news from the pace.
Sources of development
Good sports beat writers will develop professional relationships with people about their beats who are reliable sources of information. Sources often give writers hints about breaking news, inside information, or certain actions that could take place soon, such as a manager about to be fired or a player about to be traded. Having good sources allows a sportswriter to report the news as quickly as possible, ideally before any other news organization reports it.
A sports beat writer who is assigned to cover a specific team will usually travel wherever the team goes, such as to a training camp or games in other cities. For a training camp that is in a location other than the team’s hometown, such as spring training in Florida or Arizona for professional baseball teams in the United States, the writer might spend several weeks in a given area before returning At home. During a team’s racing season, the writer might spend only one or more days in one city before returning home or moving on to the next city. In some sports, a team trip can last several weeks.
In the early 20th century, writers often traveled with the team, such as on the same train, as part of the team’s travel party. One effect of this was that the writers were close to the athletes, so they were able to learn more about them and even develop personal relationships with them, in some cases. Some people believe this has made writers less likely to publish negative news or critical opinions about players. Towards the end of the 20th century, beat writers began traveling separately from the team, although they went to the same destinations.
To be a successful sports beat writer, a person must be able to communicate effectively in writing. He must also be good at asking questions that prompt interview subjects to provide information or to express their thoughts or emotions. In the 21st century, skills in using computers and searching for information on the Internet are also essential. A writer should be knowledgeable about the sport or sports that his pace involves. Experience playing specific sports is not required but may be helpful.
Education and training
A college education is typically required for a person to become a sports beat writer. A beat writer typically has a journalism degree, although some may have earned other degrees before becoming journalists. Someone who wants to be a sports beat writer will often complete an internship while in college or after graduation to gain news agency experience. In most cases, a writer has to start his career at a small paper, either doing a lot of work or covering a smaller pace for a larger paper before he can cover a more prestigious pace.