If you’re looking to impress a sports editor and land a job in sports writing, be sure to work at your college newspaper.
I believe working at a college newspaper is an excellent idea but don’t just take my word for it. In a 2008 survey of 108 sports editors conducted by the Associated Press Sports Editors, “College Newspaper Experience,” received high marks overall and an “A” from 57% of respondents.
According to a story on the APSE site, sports editors are often looking for sports writers who excel at the basics. When asked to check the five most important skills for a sports journalist, sports editors checked "accuracy" (96.3 percent). Other skills included reporting (85.2 percent), writing (75.9), interviewing (64.8), and sourcing (63.9). Grammar received about 25 percent of the vote, and only 2.8 percent said “blogging.”
Yes, sports writers have nothing without accuracy and I’d agree that each skill listed is needed for a writer to excel. The other skill I would list is research. Before I ever interview someone, I typically do as much research as time allows.
If you’re interested in sports writing or sports media in general, I think you’ll find the story on the survey results to be helpful.