Master of Science in Sport Management Online

How Sports Journalism and Media Are Unique

Sports journalism is distinctive from regular media not only because of its relatively narrow focus, but also because of the way that this genre approaches news stories. In recent years, sportswriters have made noteworthy strides in research, reporting, and storytelling. Learn how sports journalism stands out and why it’s so important in today’s media world.

Sports Journalists Have Passion

Image via Flickr by Keith Allison

Mainstream journalists, broadcasters, and news writers often specialize in certain areas or topics, but they’re not usually responsible for expressing strong opinions. When it comes to sports writing, however, passion is a way of life. As Gabby Logan explains in The Guardian, analyzing every detail of a play, every aspect of a league, and every angle of an industry is nothing less than a thrill. The most successful sports journalists can easily convey this to their audience.

Sportswriters Must Be Objective

Despite their passion and knowledge, sportswriters have an obligation to take an objective approach to any story. As Jeff Bell discusses in the Bleacher Report, the best journalists understand a story from every angle and can back up their divisive opinions with facts, statistics, and historical events. According to The Big Lead, the most important figures in sports media strive to accomplish this in every report.

  • Bill Simmons: One of the nation’s most popular sportswriters, Bill Simmons combines sports knowledge with pop culture to connect with fans.
  • Bob Costas: For over three decades, Bob Costas has offered informative and engaging commentary as the host of Olympic Games, an MLB play-by-play analyst, and more.
  • Jay Bilas: A specialist in college sports, Jay Bilas wins over audiences with live broadcasts, revealing analyses, and even social media conversations.

Sports Journalists Perform Investigative Reports

Over the past decade, sportswriters have proven time and time again that the material they cover is much more diverse than scores and stats. In fact, the most insightful sports journalists deliver in-depth investigative reports that are as hard-hitting as many in the regular news media. Some of the most scintillating sports stories in recent years include the following.

  • Deflategate: In 2014, the AFC championship was marred by allegations that New England Patriots team members had tampered with footballs to win the game. Some of the best investigative reports came from sources like ESPN, which dug into not only previous Patriots scandals but also the inner workings of the NFL as a whole.
  • Lucrative College Sports: For many fans, college sports are a source of entertainment, but for coaches and players, they’re often a different story. Reports from the Washington Post and other outlets examine the alarming way that many universities thrive on the massive income that their sports teams generate.
  • Brain Trauma: The inner lives and personal struggles of sports stars haven’t always made the headlines. Investigative stories from the New York Times and other sources, however, increasingly draw attention to the devastating effects that brain injuries cause aging players.

Sports writing demands drive, dedication, and passion, but it also requires a solid educational foundation. Those who pursue a master’s in sport management will gain the background and network they need to succeed in this exciting, competitive field.