Picture: A knockout sports journalism photograph by NCTJ-trained photographer Jemma Cox.
Sports journalists cover sports events and produce written or broadcast reports on those events.
Traditionally sports journalists are drawn from the ranks of news reporters who expressed an interest in reporting sport. This is still a viable route for sports reporters, with many well known sports journalists working first as a news reporter before getting their first big break in sports reporting by standing in for a sports reporter who was unable to attend a big event.
But the trend is now for young journalists to specialise earlier and this is reflected in the development of specific sports journalism courses, accredited by the NCTJ, which aim to see their young graduates join a sports desk immediately once they leave the course.
These courses are listed in the accredited courses section of this website.
On these courses students sit NCTJ exams in news reporting, public affairs and media law, as much of sports reporting is about more than the action of what happens on the pitch. Sports journalists have to follow such issues as making sure a new ground will be ready for the start of the new season or whether a race track will be in a suitable financial position to host a Formula One Grands Prix. Stories such as this require an understanding of planning laws, media law and company structures and finances.
Students will also study shorthand, as sports journalism is an area of reporting where quotes must be reported quickly and accurately. Many sports reporters have to compile and file a report of the first half of a football match within the 15 minute span of half-time at a football match.
Once sports journalists who have completed the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism have been working at a news organisation for 18 months they can sit the NCE for Sports Reporters.
The Journalism Diversity Fund has been set up by those in the industry who want to support the training of journalists from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds.
It is aimed at people without the financial means to attend NCTJ training courses. Applicants will need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to journalism and the potential to be successful.
Please visit the website for details of the selection criteria and the application process.