Sports journalism is a highly specialized field of reporting. So specialized, in fact, that it is now possible to study it as a standalone degree. This is something people like Michael Volitich have embraced with open arms, as it has enabled them to become the best at what they do. For many, however, it isn’t quite clear how a course in sports journalism differs from a regular journalism degree. This is something Michael wanted to shed some more light on.
Michael Volitich on the Content of a Sports Journalism Degree
During the first year of study, prospective sports journalists will be exposed to an essential journalism toolkit. This is one of the elements that is the same for all forms of journalism, be that sports or other. Similarly, they will learn about media histories, focusing on how mass media has developed over the years. Another element of particular importance during the first year that is quite similar to that in other journalism courses is an introduction to media laws and regulations comma as well as digital storytelling. While the first year focuses mainly on journalistic skills and is therefore quite generic, students will also already be introduced to the essential sports journalism knowledge and how to report on sports online.
It is in the second year that students will place a far greater emphasis on sports in particular. However, they will also continue to learn regular journalistic skills such as shorthand writing, something that is essential for journalists to be able to do so that they can rapidly write down everything that is being said to them. Additionally, the second-year will emphasize multimedia and other technologies. Sports journalists use very different equipment to other journalists, which is why this is such an important lesson. Additionally, students will be exposed to the newsroom and they will learn about more advanced reporting on sports in particular.
The final year is the most important one period this is when students will have to create their own portfolio of reports and investigations relating specifically to sports. They will also have to complete a practical placement or internship, which also has to be specifically related to sports. Often, they will also have to complete a practical project with their fellow students, again in the sports arena, while also having another course on media ethics but particularly how this relates to the world of sports.
Really, a degree in sports journalism has a significant overlap with regular journalism but it also has its own particular emphasis on the world of sports. One of the key benefits of these degrees is that students are provided with important transferable skills. Someone who has graduated with a degree in sports journalism would also be able to work in other fields, including news reporting. This is one of the reasons why the degree is so popular, as it does not restrict students in terms of their future career, while at the same time not being too generic either.