Finding Sports Journalism Internships

Internships are the key to success for any aspiring sports journalist.

We live in an era where a high GPA and a college degree no longer guarantee jobs. It is all about who you know and what you have accomplished.

Resumes will have a permanent home in the trash if they are lacking in work experience and references.

Internships are a resume’s defense against being trashed.

Internships allow young college students the chance to build networks and gain real-world experience. The more you have, the better your chances of landing the sports media position you are seeking.

The problem; however, is that sports journalism internships can be hard to find. Sometimes, they are harder to find than to obtain.

If you do not know where to look or if you are not attending a school that keeps you updated on sports media internships, you are going to miss important opportunities.

Luckily, I was able to find a few online resources that are dedicated to helping others find jobs and internships:

CubReporters

CubReporters is for the entire discipline of journalism. This site includes job listings, internship opportunities, tips, advice and much more. They break journalism down into sections, with an entire section of the site dedicated to sports journalism.

Sports TV Jobs

This one is for the sports broadcasters. From behind the camera to on-air careers, this site has everything you need to know about the industry, including job listings, sports media internships and expert advice. Their YouTube channel contains “How to” videos, behind-the-scenes features and interviews with experts.

ExpertVillage

ExpertVillage is a YouTube channel with videos that give advice on just about every subject. They have videos that cover many different aspects of journalism, including a series titled “How to be a Local Sports Reporter.” This series offers some great advice, visible in the above video.

The best advice I can give, is to contact all of the sports media outlets in your area and send out your resume to many more. Show that your truly passionate about sports journalism and that you are eager to gain real-world experience as an intern with their company.

BE PERSISTENT!

Besides, the worst they can do is say “No.” Right?

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Sports Journalism Universities

Sports journalism is quickly growing in popularity. Because of this, more and more journalism schools are beginning to incorporate sports journalism into their curriculum.

Schools, such as the Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State University, offer classes that allow students to cover sports. Recent examples include covering Brewers’ spring training and a study abroad program that will take students to London for the 2012 Olympics.

But, I wanted to find out if there were schools that go beyond just offering classes on sports journalism.

I was surprised to find that some of the more well-known universities in the nation actually offer sports journalism programs or degrees.

Here is my list of the top-five well-known sports journalism universities:

5. University of Texas at Austin

The School of Journalism at UT offers a graduate-type program in sports journalism. The program offers classes on sports business and entertainment, ethics and the impact of sports on society. It is reserved for upper-division journalism students and those who are interested must apply in order to get into the program. It also requires students to have a sports internship.

4. Pennsylvania State

Penn State houses The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Students will have a chance to explore issues and trends in sports journalism. Through instruction,  research and much more, students will learn up-to-date sports journalism techniques covering the sports themselves, public policy, media and society.

3. Oklahoma State University

OSU offers one of the few sports journalism undergraduate degrees in the United States. As a sports media major, students have the choice of studying sports broadcast production, sports multimedia journalism or sports public relation and promotion.

2. Boston University

BU offers a sports reporting concentration for their master’s degree in journalism. This area of concentration provides students with sports reporting skills and a deep understanding of sports in society.

1. Indiana University

Home to The Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, probably one of the most well-known sports academic programs in the United States. According to the website, the center is “the most comprehensive institute for the study of sports journalism in America.” It provides high-quality instruction on sports media and offers the only master’s degree program in sports journalism.

Whatever university you decide to attend, whether it is one of the five above or somewhere else, there is always a few things to think about before making your final decision:

  • Location to sports media
  • University faculty and instructors
  • Career services
  • Experience opportunities

The most important being experience, because just having a degree does not guarantee jobs anymore. Stay tuned for my next post discussing this topic!

Sports Media: Following the Leaders

It’s one thing to say you watch SportsCenter. It’s another to say you read Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback.

When it comes to television, there is not a sports program out there that matches up with SportsCenter. It’s to sports programming as Walmart is to retail department stores.

SportsCenter is a television-sports-program giant and I will admit I watch it every day. But, it is not the only sports medium.

In order to begin your journey toward a sports media career, you have to go beyond the ordinary watching of SportsCenter.

To improve your sports knowledge and journalism skills you need to read, watch and listen to anything sports related you can find.

This means, from the local to the national level you need to find the best of the best, or as I like to put it, you need to “follow the leaders.”

Here are the sports media leaders I believe everyone should follow:

Al Michaels

A true legend of sportscasting.

Suzy Kolber

Not only the best female sideline reporter, but arguably the best sideline reporter period.

Rick Reilly

Voted National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times. Need I say more?

Bill Simmons

Mostly for The B.S. Report podcast. The way he brings popular culture references into his sports talk is hilarious.

Joe Posnanski

He has wrote for just about everything it seems like. Nevertheless, his Joe Blogs blog is definitely one to read.

Peter King

The pro-football-writing king (see what I did there?)

Colin Cowherd

His off-the-wall outrageous opinions are always entertaining.

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic

The best sports-talk-radio duo there is.

Why do I think these are the leaders of sports media?

Well, it’s simple.

They are:

  • Brilliant at their craft
  • Extremely entertaining
  • Controversial at times (*Ahem* Mr. Cowherd)

They have:

  • A sports IQ that is off the charts
  • Accolades which speak for themselves

Furthermore, you might want to follow @EricStangel on Twitter. He is a superhero in the social-media-sports world. A writer and producer of the Late Show with David Letterman by day and a Twitter-sports guru by night.

To sum it all up, whether it be a local sportswriter or one of the national ones I listed. You need to find sports journalists who you enjoy following everyday.

Let’s face it, those who are paid to watch, talk about, cover and write about sports have the jobs we want. It is our task to figure out how they got there and how they are staying there.

Hopefully by the end of this journey we will find ourselves on the “who to follow” list of other aspiring sports journalists.

Until then, stay tuned for more stops along this road to a career in sports journalism!