Become a Sports Journalist
Welcome! You just made your first step in becoming a sports journalist or in other words a sports writer. We will help you know everything there is to know about sports writing & basketball writing.
You can go on and start writing asap using our advanced and easy-to-use editor. Add images to visualize your article using a unique NBA gallery, and add youtube videos and Tweets to enrich your article some more.
However, we strongly recommend you will read the guide below on how to become a sports journalist and what is sports journalism all about. You will get useful tips to improve your writing skills and take it to the next level.
First, what is sports journalism?
Sports journalism is a field of journalism that reports on sports competition. The goal of the writer is to bring the news to the fans. Sports writer will be a writer that is also very knowledgeable in the sports he covers. Most cases, he will be a fan of one of the teams and will be very familiar and updated with all the recent events. Sports journalism include a few types of articles.
These are the most common types of sports articles:
Pre-game: Giving fans all the information they want before the upcoming game. Who are the players that will play? Who is injured? What were the last results of the teams participating? Stats and analysis. Interview and quotes of the players and coaches and more. Of course, sometimes it’s also nice to add a prediction of the score.
Post-game: The writer will cover every aspect of the game such as highlights, final results, special events, stats and more. Adding a video of the highlights is a must. Of course, adding the comments of the players and the coaches after the game is also essential.
Opinion column: Article in which the writer review any aspect he wants. It can be the last performance of a player, the cooperation between two players, a trade that may or may not happen and much more. In this article, the writer will express his opinion throughout the article. It should be a unique and robust opinion. It’s also always better to be new and fresh, rather than something that the fans read in the past. For example, this is a nice article in which the writer expresses his unique opinion and ranked the Top 10 NBA players according to his best knowledge.
Background story: covering the background of a player for example. Think of it as a story and the player is the hero of the story. You cover his college season, then his draft, first NBA games, NBA career, stats, highlights, top records and more. You should also add your own opinion and give the article some of your own flavors. You can suggest the player what are the best the next steps for him and don’t forget to explain why. A great example is an article that review Michal Jordan’s Biography, from his childhood to the championships he won with the Chicago Bulls.
How to write a sports article – Guidelines to improve your basketball writing
Write with a passion (Most important tip) – You have to know your topic. You have to master your subject. You need to love your topic, that is the only way you can really connect to your readers. Example: you are covering the upcoming finals of the NBA and writing an article that compares between the two leading players of every team. This is an exciting event for every NBA fan, and your article should show it.
Stats – In sport, every fan become a statistician. It’s great to see if a player broke the record of Michael Jordan, or a season-high in 3 points shooting. And statistics that will support your message with facts will help you. I suggest you will use the NBA stats in most of your NBA articles.
Be objective – Even if you are a fan of one of the teams you are covering, or that one of the teams are the ultimate rivals of the team you worship since childhood, you need to be objective. Based on your words with facts. Explain why you think in one way or another.
Know your niche – in our case, know the NBA. When writing about the NBA, it will help if you can add some in-depth information that can give added value to your readers. An excellent article will be more than just stating the obvious. Try to give your readers a piece of information that can’t get anywhere else, like a comparison to a retired NBA player, or a fun fact about the NBA finals in the ’80s. It will keep them intrigued, happy and they will come back to read more of your articles.
Be professional – As we wrote above, you should be informal, but don’t forget to be professional. Don’t make grammar and punctuation mistakes. Check your article, again and again, to make sure you have no errors. Make sure the flow of the article is right and that the article is clear. Will the reader understand the bottom line? If not, make it a little more clear and easy to read. An excellent best practice is to let the article cool down a little bit, and then come back and read it. Most likely you will change it a little bit. After that, you safely publish your article.
5 Sports writing tips to engage your readers
Visualize with images – readers love to see photos of their top stars. Any image can make the article a little more exciting and engaging. You can use it to emphasize your point. We created a fantastic gallery to help you visualize your story.
Visualize with videos – every fan love to see a reply of the best plays he missed, or just see again the amazing dunk he already saw last night. Of course, video with the game’s highlights is a must in every post-game coverage.
Quotation – Fans love to hear what their favorite sports stars said and what they think. It makes them look human, and it makes it easier on the fans to connects more and more to the players and to the game. Today, you can also embed tweets from Twitter to visualize the quotes of what the players wrote in their profile.
Headlines – write an intrigued headline that will get your readers engaged and interested in your sports article. But, don’t exaggerate and don’t promise an amazing story you can’t deliver. You can explain in the headline which information are you offering or maybe which assumption are you challenging (e.g., Why Lebron James is better than Michael Jordan?). A good tip we suggest is to use the four U’s for writing headlines: Unique, Useful, Ultra-specific and urgency. Headlines should be specific and to the point, need to be useful and explain the reader about the information he will miss if he won’t read the article. It also needs to be unique and offers more of just the same facts about yesterday game, like every other sports site online.
Be casual – Sports fan are not an academic professor, and even if they are, they still want to get entertain. After all, that’s the main reason we all love sports. You don’t need to use high and fancy words but day to day words. It’s also essential the be familiar with the slang and jargon of the sport you are writing about. For example, did you know that “Wedggie” in the NBA jargon is when the ball gets stuck between the rim and backboard? For more exciting NBA glossary see the starters slang dictionary.
Now you are ready to take action and write your sports article. Register now and use our advanced and easy-to-use editor.
How to get people to read your sports article
Word to mouth – tell your friends about your sports article or your opinion column. As their opinion. Make them care about it and ask them to send the article to their friends as well as other NBA fans.
Share it on social networks and sports forums – Everywhere you will go online, you will find sports fans, for example, sports groups on facebook and basketball forums. You go on Twitter and share the link to your post and get more exposure and more people to read your article. Share an intriguing basketball related image on Instagram (make sure you have all copyrights), and suggest your Instagram followers click on the link and visits your article page.
Ask for comments – No matter on which platform you connect with your readers, ask for their comments, their opinion. Do they agree with your game analysis? Do they think the same about the team you wrote on? Maybe they have different opinions? If so, make sure to ask them what it is. Show that you care about your readers, and they will feel it and will come to read more of your writing.
What makes an article to go viral – People love to be part of something. Make them feel that they are a part of your writing. Write about them as sports fans. Write about their favorite teams and favorite players. Write about the hot topics they want to read. Pick a hot subject, write a great article, make sure to add the perfect and intriguing headline, and you have more chances to get people to share your articles.